Gallery: Natural Disaster Death Zones

According to Art Lerner-Lam, director of the Center for Hazards and Risk Research at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, assessing natural-disaster risk isn’t just a question of where and when cataclysmic events will occur, but how society adapts as bu

According to Art Lerner-Lam, director of the Center for Hazards and Risk Research at Columbia University's Earth Institute, assessing natural-disaster risk isn't just a question of where and when cataclysmic events will occur, but how society adapts as burgeoning populations and economies expand into notoriously high-risk territories. Here, the ones that have made Lerner-Lam's watch list.

Tornadoes

a€œDixie Alleya€ (parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia) Pop. 25 million. This region is home to the highest percentage of nighttime tornadoes, the deadliest variety.Bill Blevins

Volcanoes

Mexico City, Mexico Pop. 18 million. Popcatepetl, 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, is a constant death threat. In 2000 the active volcano had its largest eruption in more than 1,000 years, causing 56,000 people to flee.Ilai A. Magun

Earthquakes

Himalayan Front (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, China) Pop. 230 million. Unstable construction and an active fault line put this area at the top of the list.Jean-Marie Hullot

Hurricanes/Cyclones

India, Bangladesh, Myanmar Pop. 1.3 billion. Flat topography, intense storms and the densest coastal populations on the planet put the low-lying regions surrounding the Bay of Bengal at risk for deadly hurricane disasters.Wonderlane

Landslides

Central America Pop. 40 million. Mountainous terrain, unstable soil and exposure to monsoon rains, hurricanes and earthquakes make this region landslide central.Fernando Reyes Palencia

Tsunamis

Indonesia Pop. 240 million. The fourth-biggest population in the world, combined with low-elevation coastal areas and close proximity to the Indo-Australian and Eurasian fault creates a perfect target for killer tsunami.Ahron de Leeuw