Building to save lives

Areas of the world that are prone to earthquakes like California, Chile and other places that lie on active faults need to be more educated about building structures and safer spots to build homes. In Haiti, about 250,000 deaths occurred as a result of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Meanwhile, when a magnitude 8.8 quake struck in Chile only 700 people died. Although this seems like a lot of people, it is only a fraction when compared to the weaker Haiti earthquake. How could a weaker earthquake kill significantly more people? The economic situation is quite different, the earthquakes occurred in different areas and also the building codes are much stricter in Chile. In my opinion, cities that have frequent quakes should be required to have building codes, this alone could save thousands of lives per year. Most deaths during earthquakes result from collapsing buildings, crushing and trapping individuals. Although the earthquake itself cannot be prevented, the buildings collapsing can be. If these structures were engineered in a way that better absorbed the shock, there would not only be lives being saved but also less property damage. The cost of each building would be significantly higher but would be no comparison to the cost of rebuilding a city after each earthquake.

Amy O.

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