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Home > Natural Resources > Disaster Resources

Risk Management of Natural Resources vs. Daily Behavior Causes of Death

Risk management starts with identifying real dangers to health and safety...and prevention of deaths. The shocker is that we control the greatest risks with everyday choices!

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Top Causes of Risk and Death in the US

People fear natural disasters more than they fear heart attacks, but science sheds light on risks that cause deaths. Natural disasters are actually low on the list.

Americans are more likely to cause their own deaths than be killed by any natural disaster, the odds say.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the leading causes of death in the United States are, in this order,

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • stroke
  • chronic lower respiratory diseases
  • "accidental injury," a broad category that includes a lot of stuff that just happens.

In less advanced countries, where residents often live in poverty and huddle near the sea or in poorly constructed houses, tsunamis, floods and earthquakes are a more looming threat.

Communicable diseases are a leading cause of death

Communicable diseases killed 13.3 million 1998, according to the World Health Organization.

Globally, violence is a leading killer

It accounts for 14 percent of all deaths among males and 7 percent among females, according to a 2003 analysis by the World Heath Organization.

On an average day, 1,424 people are murdered.

Overall, global deaths from sudden natural disasters -- things Nature dishes out over moments, hours or days -- have been on the decline in recent years, with a few exceptions.

Officials credit better warnings and swifter response to help victims for declines in natural disaster deaths.

In 2003, the last year for which worldwide deaths have been tabulated by the Red Cross, natural disasters killed 76,000 people. The figure was skewed by two events: a heat wave in Europe that overcame more than 22,000 and an earthquake in Iran that killed upwards of 30,000. (Earthquakes kill roughly 10,000 people every year, on average.)

The previous ten years saw an average of 62,000 global deaths per year from natural disasters. That's far less than the tolls taken by famine, disease and war.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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