FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Get Ready for More Disasters

In an effort to brighten everyone's day, an article in the New York Times suggests that the Dec. 26 tsunami that struck south Asia may be indicative of more devastating and more frequent natural disasters.

The reason is not so much environmental as it is demographic. As populations in the developing world grow, they build on less-than-prime real estate that is more prone to natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods and drought. These areas are also congested and unsanitary, promoting the spread of contagious diseases. And unlike the developed nations of the West, these populations don't have the resources to implement safety measures such as earthquake-proof structures, flood controls and early-warning systems. Even if they did, their political infrastructures might not be able to make use of them.

As the recent tsunami showed, the world needs to place a priority on prevention, through better monitoring, civic planning and emergency preparedness. We won't be able to stop the next earthquake or tsunami, but we can act to save lives.

Sources: New York Times, KurzweilAI.net