Canada's dismal disaster planning, and what do we need to do to fix it

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Canada's dismal disaster planning, and what do we need to do to fix it

After having observed Canada's truly disastrous response to the current pandemic:

Country / Deaths per million

Vietnam / 0.4

Taiwan / 1.0

China / 3

New Zealand  / 5

Singapore / 5

Thailand / 12

Australia / 35

S Korea / 38

Iceland / 84

Norway / 143

Finland / 169

Canada  / 664

It's  understandable to see the following article published today about earthquakes, and there is a lot Canadians could learn from New Zealand.  It is troubling that we don't already have legislated that all property owners have to provide each tenant with an site specific emergency planning guide. 

To cope with the anxiety and fear from earthquakes, kids study a book in school called The Worry Bug. There's an app widely used by New Zealanders that shows if shaking has been reported anywhere in the country.

There's a similar website in B.C., but the first time I came across it was when I was researching this article. 

But probably the most notable difference is New Zealand's system to ensure buildings are up to current seismic standards. Local councils take an active and preventative role to identify earthquake-prone buildings based on national seismic risk and pre-specified criteria such as unreinforced masonry and towers built prior to 1976.

Building owners, engineering firms and local councils work collaboratively to strengthen or demolish buildings that are deemed unsafe. 

Now picture the opposite of this: Vancouver. A recent study from the University of British Columbia found that tall buildings constructed before 1990 were most at risk in a major earthquake. There's a lot of those in the city, especially in the West End and Downtown Eastside. 

The law mandating seismic upgrades in B.C. is unclear. Certain schools and older buildings are regularly being  upgraded but the decision seems to be at the discretion of the building owners, unlike New Zealand, where there are clear national building codes and continuous management and identification of earthquake-prone buildings.


Canada can't even organize a public washroom system, so how in the world can we do disaster planning!