Could we end earthquake deaths?

Watch on YouTube

Earthquakes and hurricanes kill thousands of people a year – but they don’t have to. Elizabeth Hausler, founder of Build Change, has spent years identifying the barriers to safe housing worldwide. Here, she shares how we can overcome them to create hurricane and earthquake proof buildings.

When we think about what kills people in natural disasters, we might think of floods, fires or car accidents. But, surprisingly, most people worldwide die from collapsing buildings and falling masonry. The difference between natural disaster survival and death, especially in developing countries, is often access to safe housing. While many programs have sought to build earthquake proof or hurricane proof houses, often they are not built with the needs of local people in mind.

So far, over 330,000 people are living and learning in safer housing and schools because of our work. That means over 60,000 buildings have been safer.


Elizabeth Hausler’s organization, Build Change, is listening to them, using innovative virtual reality technology to help align their visions, and providing incentives to ensure that local builders construct and reinforce hurricane proof homes that the owners love. Hopefully the next time a natural disaster strikes, survival rates will increase and disaster recovery will not set communities back so far.

Subscribe to Freethink for more great storiesĀ