A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 30, 2015
Disaster Divide

The term “disaster divide” means that natural disasters (such as earthquakes) cause more fatalities in poorer areas than in richer areas. In richer areas, the building construction is better and the area is less densely populated.

‘Disaster divide” was coined by Time magazine foreign editor Bryan Walsh. “The disaster gap shown by these two floods will only grow” was written by Walsh on January 4, 2011. Walsh wrote on January 12, 2011:

“That’s sad news for Haitians, and another reminder of the ‘disaster divide’ that makes natural catastrophes so much more painful for poor countries as it does for rich ones, whatever the event.”

Time magazine
A Tale of Two Floods Shows the Disaster Gap Between Rich and Poor
By Bryan Walsh @bryanrwalsh Jan. 04, 2011
Last week’s blizzard in the northeastern U.S. showed what kind of havoc a storm can cause when the public response is lacking—even in a city as rich as New York. Weather events and catastrophes will almost always take a far bigger toll on poorer countries—just compare last year’s Haiti quake, which left as many as 200,000 dead, to the far stronger quake in Chile, which killed less than 1,000. That means aid—including aid that can be used for disaster prevention before the next catastrophe—will be even more important in the future. (And it makes the international response to Pakistan’s horrific floods even more pathetic—just $16.36 has been donated per person affected.) But economic development will be vital as well, because unless poor countries like Pakistan can develop—and boost their governance along the way—the disaster gap shown by these two floods will only grow.

Time magazine
Disasters: One Year After the Haiti Quake, The Struggle to Rebuild Stronger
By Bryan Walsh @bryanrwalsh Jan. 12, 2011
That’s sad news for Haitians, and another reminder of the “disaster divide” that makes natural catastrophes so much more painful for poor countries as it does for rich ones, whatever the event. (It should also prompt relief agencies to think about shifting some of their resources from disaster relief to disaster prevention, though donations may not flow as generously for the cause of workable building codes as, for example, emergency field hospitals.)

Time magazine
How Shoddily Constructed Buildings Become Weapons of Mass Destruction
We tend to focus on the size of an earthquake, but death toll has more to do with the quality of buildings. A new study shows that countries in south-central Asia are on the wrong side of the disaster divide — and the costs could be terrible

By Bryan Walsh @bryanrwalsh Aug. 12, 2013
There’s a term I’ve written about in the past: the disaster divide. It refers to the vast discrepancy between developed and developing nations in the death toll from natural disasters. Those countries that prepare for hurricanes or earthquakes and have the resources to respond to a catastrophe can now weather even very severe events with relatively little loss of life. The same storm or quake in a poor country, however, can cause massive human loss. That’s why the Bay Area can suffer a 6.9 quake in 1989 and lose just 63 people, while Haiti can suffer a quake just a bit stronger in 2010 and lose at least 100,000 people. Poverty — and even more, poor governance and corruption — is the multiplier of natural disasters.

Time magazine
The Money We Give to Quake Victims Could Be Better Spent Before Disaster Hits
When an earthquake strikes a poor country, the international community is quick to send aid. But some of that money would do more good before disaster hits

By Bryan Walsh @bryanrwalsh Sept. 06, 2013
Tucker points out that simple school earthquake safety could save countless lives when the next quake strikes. (When a massive quake hit western China in 2008, thousands of children died when their substandard school buildings collapsed on top of them.) But we’re not doing enough, and the next quake that strikes a poor, unprepared country will kill tens of thousands, if not more. It doesn’t have to be that way. The disaster divide isn’t permanent.

WVBR (Ithaca, NY)
Opinion Friday: Could Nepal Earthquake Death Toll Been Smaller?
Michaela DelasantaMichaela Delasanta | May 1, 2015
Bryan Walsh coined the term “disaster divide”, something that occurs when there is a huge difference between the death toll of an earthquake in California and the death toll of an earthquake of the same magnitude in Haiti. A disaster divide is created by a lack of infrastructure that is directly affected by the quality of life in that area. This lack of infrastructure results in more lenient building codes that prove to create devastating outcomes in natural disasters.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Thursday, April 30, 2015 • Permalink