Sunday, February 28, 2010

You Be the Judge

This is hard.

But caring about people means making hard, subjective judgments.

As an approximation, Haiti suffered 300 times as many deaths in its earthquake as did Chile. Why?

Factors that contributed to more Haitian deaths:

  • The quake epicenter was closer to dense population centers in Haiti,
  • The ground in Port-au-Prince isn’t too solid,
  • Unlike Chile, no one in Haiti has lived through a major quake before,
  • Per capita income in Haiti is 1/15 of that in Chile

Factors that contributed to more Chilean deaths:

  • The Richter scale is based on base 10 logs, so an 8.8 is 60 times stronger than a 7.0.

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