One cannot miss the wake of destruction caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Katrina hurricane catastrophe and the Pakistan earthquake in late 2005. The tsunami was responsible for the annihilation of 300,000 lives with more than 100,000 still missing. When the early images of tsunami arrived, it appeared as if the tourists were tsunami's hot favorites. Upon intent observation, it dawned that they were perhaps the only ones to sport a video camera at the time! Infact the poor fisher folk were among the majority who met a watery grave, away from the eye of the camera. Since their contributions to the national economy were a drop in the ocean, one could not precisely estimate the economic repercussions caused by the Tsunami.
Therefore, the popular opinion, that the poor and under privileged are at a greater risk of losing their lives to natural disasters, stands substantiated. A case in point is the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which claimed more than 30,000 lives in strict contrast to a similar potency earthquake in Northridge, California, that took less than 100 lives. In conclusion, it may be appropriate to say that Countries with a low Human Development Index, such as the poorest countries in Africa, may suffer greater losses than richer countries. This may be attributed to lack of adequate response to emergencies, and the proximity of the homes of the poor to flood sensitive areas, and area prone to landslides or areas with extreme climatic conditions.
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