In an article in Forbes magazine dated February 8, 2010 the question of who’s next to suffer the worst losses if hit by an earthquake, lists Kathmandu, Nepal at the top with an estimate of 69,000 predicted deaths. Next on the risk scale is a city I just visited. Istanbul, Turkey. Seeing the city and walking through many
neighborhoods I can only agree with the probability that the death toll would be very high. My first impression of the city from the top of my hotel was of how poor the city below me looked. Roofs patched with aluminum, brick and mortar construction, a very densely populated city with buildings not exceeding six stories. Very few green spaces and most of the construction is on inclined planes. The death toll and degree of destruction has more to do with economics and engineering and not the geology, the study found. The study by GeoHazards International, a nonprofit research group based in Palo Alto, California continues the list with Delhi, India, a city I’ll be visiting in the near future, 38,000 predicted casualties, following that is Quito,Ecuador at 15,000, Manila, Philippines 13,000, Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Pakistan 12,500, San Salvador, El Salvador 11,500, Mexico City, Mexico 11,500, Izmir, Turkey 11,500, and tenth on the list Jakarta, Indonesia 11,000. Notice that Port-au-Prince, Haiti was not on this list prepared in 2001. In earthquake-prone regions of developing nations the building codes have improved as well as the preparation for disasters. Case in point is Chile where a massive earthquake struck the country causing less than 1000 deaths.