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Which countries are most affected by severe seismic activity? The new seismometer provides a new perspective

Which countries are most affected by severe seismic activity?  The new seismometer provides a new perspective


While headlines often focus on the destructive power of earthquakes, their true human cost may be elusive. A recent study offers a new perspective through a new metric: the earthquake fatality burden, or EQFL. This measure compares earthquake deaths to a country's population, revealing how some countries bear a disproportionate burden of earthquake deaths. Surprisingly, smaller countries such as Ecuador, Lebanon and Haiti topped the EQFL list, despite experiencing fewer earthquakes than larger, more earthquake-prone countries such as Japan or China.

The researchers suggest that this disparity may be due to how minor earthquakes can greatly impact smaller, unprepared populations. In addition, these losses represent a larger portion of their population, making them even more devastating for smaller nations.

Apart from these, countries located on the boundaries of major tectonic plates also rank highly due to the occurrence of severe earthquakes in these regions. This explains Afghanistan's high rating in the EQFL field, as it is located in an area where the Indian and Eurasian plates meet.

Encouragingly, the study also found a global decline in EQFL over time, suggesting that advances in building codes, disaster preparedness, and rescue efforts are mitigating the human cost of earthquakes. The global trend of urbanization, with more earthquake-resistant construction and faster emergency response in cities, could further contribute to this decline. However, challenges remain in countries such as Italy, where old and weak buildings are still in use.

The EQFL serves as a valuable tool for understanding and addressing the human cost of earthquakes. By identifying the most vulnerable countries, targeted disaster risk reduction efforts and resource allocation can be directed.




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