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Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, landslides, tsunamis, famine, disease — these things are a part of life on Earth. But with the intelligent application of technology, some can be eliminated, some can be rendered harmless and others can be dealt with as best we can.

According to emergency-response expert Vinay Gupta, there are six ways to die during an emergency situation: too hot, too cold, thirst, hunger, disease and injury. If food production, water treatment and power generation are all decentralized, people are no longer dependent on roads and infrastructure to keep them alive. This reduces the impact of a disaster from a humanitarian crisis to an annoyance.

It is frequently said that earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do. That is to say, deaths from earthquakes are the result of flimsy buildings collapsing and crushing people. This is why hundreds of thousands of people die when an earthquake strikes rural China or Haiti, but few die when an earthquake of similar magnitude strikes Los Angeles. Better building methods, particularly in earthquake-prone areas, can reduce the numbers who die in earthquakes to nearly zero. The same is true for hurricanes

See also