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Freaked About Perishing In a Natural Disaster? Here’s the Real Story

odds dying in natural disaster

Some people think this century has gotten off to a pretty dangerous start, what with 2004′s major and deadly tsunami in Asia. Oh yeah, and there was also that recent tsunami in Japan, those earthquakes in Haiti, Iran and elsewhere, those rampant wildfires in Europe, and so on. To stop your mind from asking, “When will it be my turn?” here is the real story about dying in a natural disaster.

Statistically speaking, you really don’t have to worry too much. (NOTE: If you don’t believe in statistics, stop reading this article right now.) There are plenty of other things to worry about that will get you way before a natural disaster ever does.

Of course, location plays an important role in determining just how vulnerable you are. If you’re living in a small cabin in the Rocky Mountains, your risk of dying from a tsunami are pretty much zero, but the odds of death by avalanche increase dramatically.

For all you math geniuses, here’s the same info in shear numbers:

Things like heart disease (1-in-5 odds) and cancer (1-in-7 odds) still number among the biggest killers in America each year, definitely above the risk posed by natural disasters. On average, earthquakes claim about 10,000 lives globally each year, and for an American, this means you have about a 1-in-131,000 chance of succumbing to that type of natural disaster. If you’re anxious about being wiped out by a tsunami, the odds of survival are even better, with a 1-in-500,000 chance of getting caught up in a giant tidal wave.

So, the real story is that you have a much greater chance of meeting your doom by falling down the stairs than by a natural disaster, including lighting strikes. Feel better? If you’re the kind of person who understands statistics, this should help calm you down. If, on the other hand, you tend toward fretting about things you can’t really control, well, good luck out there. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.

[Live Science]

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