Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toronto, the Next Haiti? Part 1


The headline was chosen for my next series, as a deliberate shot across the bow for the rather stupid Toronto Earthquake Authorities (actually, they don't exist, so I could just say 'extremely intelligent'). Obviously, there are a zillion reasons why Toronto is not the next Haiti (in earthquake terms), if you want to get selective about it.

Well, there's nothing left for Haiti, other than the crying, and the bulldozers. The next effort is in rebuilding the place, and making an effort to prevent this from happening throughout the world. For that, we need some hard science.

An earthquake causes the local instantaneous drop in the quality of life, or standard of living, through the damage to housing stock, and lifeline support (roads, communication, etc). For cities on the verge of life, this drop causes massive instantaneous death. For other places, we can call the equivalent in 'life-year reduction'. Any drop in standard of living can result in the loss of millions of life-years.

If I had a billion dollars burning a hole in my pocket, dedicated to just earthquake mitigation, where would I put it? Should I weigh by instantaneous death, or life-years saved? This series goes by life-years, not by the more dramatic measure, and you can see that Toronto isn't that far from Haiti, as you would believe.

The following was just an opening salvo. I haven't thought a bit about what I'm actually going to say! I shall now think my way out of this....

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