The devastating earthquakes that hit China on 12 May 2008, Italy on 6 April 2009 and Haiti one month ago all measured above 6.0 and took many lives. But why was the human cost so much greater for Haiti?
When Pete Garratt, Red Cross head of disaster relief, received an alert on 12 January indicating a large quake had hit Haiti near its capital Port-au-Prince, he instantly recognised the seriousness of the emergency.
"I knew that meant deaths and injuries," he says.
These countries have less money to put into buildings and there is less governance ensuring building codes are followed," Mr Garratt explains.
"Corruption can also be an issue and so, even when there are government structures to ensure building codes are followed, there are bribes that enable people to take short cuts.
"Put simply - there are the technical elements of the earthquake and then the social elements on top of that."
The resulting scale of destruction - of infrastructure, of government and other official organisations - also made it much more difficult to respond once the earthquake hit and had an impact on the number of people rescued from the rubble.