Corruption is an engine of poverty and vulnerability. Impoverished communities suffer a disproportionate share of losses and are rendered less able to counter subsequent extremes.

Corruption is a significant cause of building failure in earthquakes. Reinforced concrete, used all over the world, will fail if cement and steel are not adequate. Buildings will collapse and occupants, users and neighbours will lose their lives. Only afterwards does wreckage and rubble reveal the causes of failure, the deaths, injuries, bereavement and loss, and what should have been the social purpose of building.

Earthquakes don’t kill people; collapsing buildings do. While earthquakes may not be preventable, it is possible to prevent the disasters they cause. Many deaths ... result from buildings that folded in on themselves because concrete was diluted, steel bars were excised, or otherwise substandard building practices were employed.
James Lewis, Global Corruption Report, 2005 Transparency International. Berlin. p23.

For the eradication of corruption a free media is pre-requisite; countries with a high incidence of corruption invariably have a controlled media (CHARTPressSubjug.pdf).


  • Corruption and post-disaster reconstruction (Box)

    The Handbook of Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction
    Routledge, London
  • Corruption Costs Lives

    A guide for journalists covering disaster risk reduction
    Annex III, pp183-185
    United Nations: International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)
  • The Pat Reid Lecture 2010. Corruption: The hidden perpetrator of under-development and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters

    Vol 3, No 2, pp 464-475
    African Centre for Disaster Studies, North West University, Potchefstroom, Republic of South Africa
  • Climate-proofing development: corruption risks in adaptation infrastructure

    Global Corruption Report 2011
    Corruption & Climate Change; Part 5, Item 5.3
    Transparency International, Berlin
  • Press subjugation and perceived corruption in sixteen selected earthquake-prone countries

    Datum International

  • The Worm in the Bud: Corruption, construction and catastrophe

    Chapter 12 in: Hazards and the Built Environment
    Taylor & Francis
    Lee Bosher: Ed
  • Corruption and earthquake destruction: Observations on events in Turkey, Italy and China

    25.5.08, Revised November 2010

  • How corruption can prevent the implementation of disaster risk reduction policies.

    Corruption costs lives. Annex 3.
    Disaster through a distant lens: Behind every effect there is a cause. A guide to journalists covering disaster reduction.
    United Nations
  • Earthquake destruction: corruption on the fault line

    Global Corruption Report 2005
    Corruption in Construction Part 1. pp23-30
    Transparency International, Berlin