WASHINGTON, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Heat is more likely to kill an American than an earthquake, and thunderstorms kill more people than hurricanes do, according to a U.S. “death map” published on Tuesday.
Researchers who compiled the county-by-county look at what natural disasters kill Americans said they hope their study will help emergency preparedness officials plan better.
Heat and drought caused 19.6 percent of total deaths from natural hazards, with summer thunderstorms causing 18.8 percent and winter weather causing 18.1 percent, the team at the University of South Carolina found.
Earthquakes, wildfires and hurricanes combined were responsible for fewer than 5 percent of all hazard deaths.
Writing in BioMed Central’s International Journal of Health Geographics, they said they hoped to dispel some myths about what the biggest threats to life and limb are.
“According to our results, the answer is heat,” Susan Cutter and Kevin Borden of the University of South Carolina wrote in their report, which gathered data from 1970 to 2004.
Read more ….