TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (Press Shia Agency) – One out of three people in the world is exposed to earthquakes, and in 2017, nearly 37% of the world’s population lives in 145 countries in potentially hazardous seismic regions, Tabatabaei Mozdabadi, the secretary of Iran Urban Economics Scientific Association (IUESA) said.

Noting that cities face with many problems like environmental hazards that have to be added to their bulk of problems, the IUESA head said cities seem to be increasingly dangerous places.

Referring that one out of three people in the world is exposed to earthquakes, he said in 2017, nearly 37 percent of the world’s population of 145 countries and 31 percent of the world’s built-up area live in potentially hazardous seismic regions, the highest in Asia, and doubled in just over 40 years.

More than one billion people from 155 countries are at risk of flooding, more than 400 million people live near hazardous volcanoes, and tidal cyclones threaten 640 million people, vice-president of IUESA said.

Emphasizing that more than 40% of people in high-risk seismic locations in the world live in low-income countries, Tabatabaei said the cities of low-income countries are where the population, poverty and natural disasters are all concentrated, and they have put together to portray the danger in the real sense.

Saying that earthquake, floods and other hazards do not know rich or poor countries; and even the highest rates occur in the United States and Japan, the lecturer of University of Tehran further said the huge and flexible economies of these countries are preventing the collapse of infrastructure, but the inhabitants of the marginal areas are the main victims of natural disasters, including earthquakes, even if they are miles away from the earthquake.

Noting that the poor people of urban areas often choose high-risk areas, such as faults, channels, slopes of hills and suburban areas for housing, because these risky areas are the only option for them, he said people living in slums use poorly-proclaimed and recycled materials in the construction of illicit homes that have the least resistance, and cultural poverty and lack of literacy and acceptance of disaster-related education should be added to these factors.

He stated that evidence suggests that the outskirts of towns, slums attract the highest casualties in the earthquake and flood, adding that 2010 earthquake of 7 May 2010 in Haiti, which killed more than 220,000 people is an example of this situation. Flood casualties in India also confirm that slums are more prone to destruction than any other place.

Tabatabaei highlighted that risk reduction strategies should be adopted by managers and decision-makers, and went on to add that this has attracted the attention of the international community; UN member states signed the Hugo Implementation Framework to reduce natural hazards in 2005.

Saying that the earthquake affects everyone and everything, he added the earthquake is not just the collapse of buildings and the destruction of infrastructure, it can endanger the social, cultural, economic and political life of a city and even a country, but the reaction of each city to the earthquake is affected by its socioeconomic and cultural political system, and the speed of return the pre-earthquake conditions actually show the city’s development level.

MS/PR