Corrupt practices account for bulk of quake deaths

January 13th, 2011 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 13 (IANS) Eighty-three percent of deaths in building collapses during earthquakes occur in countries where corrupt practices are rampant, says a research.The findings are based on an analysis of global fatalities in quakes over the past three decades authored by professors Nicholas Ambraseys and Roger Bilham of the Imperial College of London and University Colorado, US, respectively.

The authors noted that while a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand in 2010 resulted in zero fatalities, an identical 2010 quake in Haiti resulted in the death toll reaching six figures, reports the journal Nature.

According to authors, deaths due to absence of effective earthquake engineering activity have averaged about 18,300 per year since 1980, says an Imperial College release.

Corrupt building practices can include the use of substandard materials, poor assembly methods, inappropriate placement of buildings and non-adherence to building codes, the authors said.

The global construction industry, currently worth $7.5 trillion annually, is recognised by experts as the most corrupt segment of the world economy, says a new study.

Ambraseys and Bilham used data gathered by Transparency International, a Berlin based organisation that operates through more than 70 national chapters worldwide.

Transparency International annually generates a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.

“The CPI index — which defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain — is determined by an aggregate of 13 opinion polls averaged over two years from 10 institutions monitoring the frequency and extent of bribes paid within various countries,” said Bilham, a geologist.

A CPI score of zero indicates a highly corrupt nation with zero transparency, while a score of 10 indicates an absence of perceived corruption with total transparency.

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