One Million Dead In 30 Seconds

Posted: July 18, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , ,

Conventional wisdom holds only a nuclear war could cause a million deaths in 30 seconds.

Claire Berlinski, writing at City Journal says an earthquake could have the same impact due to the hard-to-comprehend power of the earth itself.

Take the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, which released 600 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb.

So is the earthquake a WMD itself?  Not exactly.  It’s more like Iran getting highly enriched uranium: a precursor to the event itself.

As seismologist Roger Bilham has aptly put it, houses in seismically active zones are the world’s unrecognized weapons of mass destruction…

Why houses (or better, buildings)?  Because they fall, crush, and trap.  The Haiti earthquake destroyed almost 100,000 buildings.  The solution?  Better designs, better buildings, and (for the third developing world), better laws.

…83 percent of all deaths from building collapses in earthquakes in the past 30 years took place in countries that were “anomalously corrupt”—that is, in countries that were perceived to be more corrupt than you would predict from their per-capita income.

And while the author doesn’t mention it, those who live in or near a true shaky town may want to invest in some civil defense-type capabilities (food stores, drinking water, sanitation plans, and the likes) as well.  Why?  Because if you count on the government to relieve your discomfort, suffering, and pain, it could be a long wait.  Life favors the prepared.

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