Levels of economic development are those that determine a countries economic capability and power. Earthquakes affect all places in different ways, for example will it cause a knock on affect i.e. Tsunami? Was it in a rural or an urban are? All these factors will change the impact of an earthquake. Both the Haiti and Canterbury earthquakes are easily compared as both magnitudes were around seven and also both earthquakes were very shallow, but most importantly both struck so close to major population centers.
A major cause of loss of life in an earthquake is due to unsafe buildings. A countries level of economic development surely has a significant influence on this; in the Canterbury earthquake there was no deaths yet the Haiti earthquake caused a dramatic 230,000.
New Zealand Learning from past earthquakes, New Zealand has implemented strict building codes. Modern homes are generally built with timber-frame constructions, which flex and absorb the some energy of an earthquake. Modern commercial and office buildings are generally constructed with isolated foundations, whilst many historic buildings have been restored with earthquake-proofing structures. Still, there was significant damage in Christchurch, most often to older un-reinforced brick structures, and in areas where liquefaction amplified the ground shaking. The damage in Canterbury is estimated at around $2billion.
However Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, and does not implement the same building codes that saved so many lives and buildings in the Canterbury earthquake. Well constructed and earthquake proof buildings are a rarity in Haiti. An estimate suggests that 250,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in Haiti, leaving nearly 1 million people homeless.
A clear indication of how little resources and building training the people of Haiti had is shown in even that the important buildings such as the Presidential Palace did not withstand the severity of the...