Natural catastrophe has seemingly become a part of our daily lives as news that a natural disaster has taken place somewhere in the world has become all too commonplace. Earthquakes in particular inhabit a special position within the array of natural hazards against which humanity perseveres because they can result in some of the most devastating losses of life and property and critically disrupt and delay economic development. Especially worrisome is the rising trend seen since the 1970s in the number of earthquakes causing significant human and economic loss (Guha-Sapir and Vos 2011). Unfortunately, this worrisome trend is expected to continue as urbanization progresses and as global exposure (though not necessarily vulnerability) to disaster risk expands. As of 2009, the number of people living in cities exposed to earthquakes was approximately 370 million worldwide, a number that is expected to more than double by 2050.
Chen, Kevin Z.; Hsu, Claire; adn Zhang, Qiang. 2016. Wenchuan earthquake overview. In Earthquake lessons from China: Coping and rebuilding strategies. Chen, Kevin Z.; Zhang, Qiang; and Hsu, Claire (Eds.). Chapter 1. Pp. 1-10. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). http://dx.doi.org/10.2499/9780896298743_01