Website of the Telegraph Media Group with breaking news, sport, business, latest UK and world news. Content from the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph newspapers and video from Telegraph TV. When an earthquake rocked the Caribbean island republic of Haiti in early 2010, hundreds of thousands of people died, while hundreds of thousands more lost their homes. Just a few weeks later, the earth shook in the central coastal region of the South American nation of Chile. Yet in Chile, far fewer people died – 500 instead of the 200,000 who lost their lives in Haiti. In their report, the Alliance Development Works – a federation of several German aid agencies – along with the United Nations University in Bonn, calculated a natural disaster risk value for 173 countries worldwide. A glance at the map reflecting global risk shows that the highest peril is to developing countries. At first glance, it appears to be a miracle that 400 times fewer people died in Chile than in Haiti when one of the strongest earthquakes of the past century shook the densely populated central Chilean coast in February 2010. Chile has an efficient public sector, the government takes measures against corruption, earthquake-proof building codes have been tightened in recent years, and – perhaps most importantly – those regulations were enforced. The range of natural disasters, be they earthquakes, hurricanes or floods, that threaten a region are only part of a region's vulnerability, according to Peter Mucke, director of Alliance Development Works.


Katrin Radtke, with the relief agency Welthungerhilfe, says public thinking also has to change. Overcoming immediate problems is also important, but doesn't necessarily improve resilience in the long run, she says.
Peter Mucke, also hopes to make media, politicians and private donors rethink the issue, because – as in medicine – prevention is usually the cheapest cure.
Natural disasters killed almost 300,000 people and harmed nearly 208 million others in 2010, a report by a UN agency has found. As Haiti's cholera epidemic advances by leaps and bounds, authorities and aid agencies were struggling to contain the crisis.
An earthquake has struck Haiti near the capital, Port-au-Prince, with hundreds of casualties feared. The EU's foreign affairs chief has praised Chile's response to the devastating earthquake that has torn apart houses, bridges and highways, and claimed more than 700 lives. Food insecurity and vulnerability to natural disasters are becoming increasingly linked, according to the UN's latest World Risk Report. While tragic, recent natural disasters like the tornados in Oklahoma and Hurricane Sandy have shown that individuals can step up in times of need and make a tremendous impact on communities facing great challenges. However, more and more corporations have begun to prioritize natural disasters as a key focus area of their corporate citizenship efforts.  With strong community ties, abundant resources, and expertise in addressing specific challenges, corporations are appropriately equipped – and their support is critical!


It is, unfortunately, only a matter of time until the next natural disaster strikes.  But thanks to skilled organizations such as the Red Cross, passionate individuals in communities across the world, and corporations that are eager to leverage their resources and expertise, we can be sure that a collective relief response will be ready. This post is produced by B+SP’s Corporate Citizenship Center of Excellence, a team of experts, idealists and actionists committed to driving mutual benefit for business and society through the development and support of purpose-driven corporate citizenship efforts. The greatest danger for natural disasters to wreak havoc exists above all in Asia and Latin America, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Guatemala and El Salvador. There are hardly any, or very few, state-sponsored preparations to combat the effects of natural disasters.
Housing conditions, nutritional standards and levels of medical care all play an important role in limiting death tolls in the aftermath of a disaster. Disasters should be viewed as long term, multi-faceted challenges rather than short term calamities.
Germany has expressed its sympathies to the victims and promised aid to the Carribbean country.
The global risk index reaffirms the importance of crisis prevention, but it also highlights something else - when it comes to disasters, it's poverty that kills.



Fire safety in homes
Disaster organizations in the caribbean


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