Sunday, 23 January 2011

Corruption Kills – Even in Earthquakes

The Haitian earthquake in January 2010 was more deadly than any other in several decades. Image courtesy of Joshua Lee Kelsey, US Navy, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

When an earthquake hits a very corrupt country, it kills more people than if it occurs in a less corrupt country. This is the take-away message of a fresh study that looked into the causes of earthquake deaths.

Professor Nicholas Ambraseys at the Imperial College in London and professor Roger Bilham at the University of Colorado at Boulder examined data collected by Transparency International, a Berlin-based organisation that monitors corruption and the abuse of power globally.

Ambraseys and Bilham noticed that during the past three decades 83 per cent of all deaths occurred in the most corrupt countries.

For instance, whereas the 2010 quake in Haiti took the lives of approximately 250,000 people (the estimate varies greatly, depending on the source), no one died in a comparable 7.0 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand.

According to ScienceDaily, many deaths are caused by “corrupt building practices … which can include the use of substandard materials, poor assembly methods, the inappropriate placement of buildings and non-adherence to building codes.”

The result should not be a surprise for Christians who believe in the Bible. After all, the apostle Paul said that the wages of sin is death.


Extent of Corruption in Countries Around the World Tied to Earthquake Fatalities. ScienceDaily 16 January 2011.