The Problem with Death Tolls

Slate:

Pakistani authorities say at least 45 people were killed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country’s southwestern Baluchistan province today. As my colleague Josh Voorhees writes, that number is likely to rise, and reporting by Gul Yusufzai of Reuters suggests the damage caused by the quake, which was so powerful it created a new island off the country’s southern coast and was felt as far away as New Delhi, is likely to be extensive:
Officials said scores of mud houses were destroyed by aftershocks in the thinly populated mountainous area near the quake epicenter in Baluchistan, a huge barren province of deserts and rugged mountains.

In a crowded international news environment, we may decide which disasters to pay attention to based on how many people were killed, but that’s not the best way to decide how much help is needed. Ioannis Evangelidis and Bram Van den Bergh of Erasmus University discuss this problem in a recent paper for Psychological Science.

Read the whole story: Slate

Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.

Comments

Leave a comment.

Comments go live after a short delay. Thank you for contributing.

(required)

(required)