It’s not exactly an event to celebrate, but the 25th May was International Missing Children’s Day. The numbers regarding missing children are so enormous and so shocking that it’s hard to fathom why there is so little coverage of the issue beyond the few headline grabbing cases which make the news each year. Hollywood portrayals of kidnappings and high-profile cases such as Madeleine McCann and the Chibok schoolgirls could lead you to believe there is an epidemic in child abductions worldwide, but the word ‘missing’ is a catch-all term covering all manner of disappearances.
Worldwide, an estimated eight million children go missing annually. An average 800,000 children per year go missing in the United States alone, or roughly 2,160 a day. In Canada more than 50,000 go missing, alongside 230,000 in the United Kingdom and 40,000 in Brazil. In Mexico the number is 45,000 and in Germany it’s 100,000.
Last month earthquakes hit the headlines in a big way. On 15th April Japan was struck by two quakes just twenty minutes apart, the first measuring 7 on the Richter scale and the second, slightly smaller tremor at a magnitude of 5.7. Although the US Geological Survey (USGS) said they were unrelated, Ecuador was hit the following day by a massive 7.8 magnitude quake - the largest the country has suffered since 1979.
In both cases hundreds of people were killed, injured and left homeless. In all this tragedy, what do the statistics tell us about earthquakes?