More than 80 percent of all deaths caused by building collapse during earthquakes in the last three decades occurred in countries considered to be unusually corrupt. A new assessment of global earthquake fatalities also indicates that in some relatively wealthy countries where knowledge and sound business practices would be expected to prevail, the collapse of many buildings is nevertheless attributable to corrupt building practices.
Researchers used data gathered by Transparency International, a global organization based in Berlin that generates a Corruption Perception Index, or CPI, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys. There is roughly a one-to-one relationship between a nations’ wealth and its perceived level of corruption.
“Corruption is found to be far worse in some countries than others, despite a measure of wealth that tells us they should do better,” says Roger Bilham, a professor at the University Colorado at Boulder. “It is in the countries that have abnormally high levels of corruption where we find most of the world’s deaths from earthquakes.”
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Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Transparency International