Friday, December 12, 2008

When Death Has A Name

Tropical storms and atomic bombs share two things: They are each given names and they can be very deadly.

So how does the deadliest cyclone compare to the deadliest atomic bomb explosions? Mother nature, at least so far, has been more destructive.

In November 1970, Cyclone Bhola struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and killed an estimated 500,000. With a Bangladesh population in 1970 of 67,403,000 people that's a death rate of 741.8 per 100,000. (That's about the same death rate as the 65 to 74 year olds who died from all types of cancer in the U.S. in 2005 (742.7 per 100,000 persons in that age range)).

In August 1945, the bombs Littleboy and Fatman were exploded by the U.S. in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan during World War II killing 214,000. With a Japanese population in 1945 of 71,998,104 that's a rate of death of 297.2 per 100,000. (Slightly more than the death rate for 65-74 year olds who died from lung cancer in the U.S. in 2005 (259.6 per 100,000 persons age 65-74)).

Interestingly, the population of Japan in 1945 (72 million people) was higher than the population of Bangladesh (67 million) and Pakistan (66 million) in 1970. That has changed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bangladesh is projected to have 160 million people by 2010, Pakistan 171 million and Japan a mere 127 million as the world careens from a 1970 population of 3.7 billion to a projected 6.8 billion in 2010.

For more on atomic bomb names check out this Geoscience website from the Australian Government.

For more on the naming of storms, the World Meterological Organization has a great website. Sphere: Related Content

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Face It. We Can Go Anytime. But In So Many Different Ways!

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Death By Numbers

A Book In the Hand