Just a few links to articles on why Haiti's earthquake was a horrific national disaster while a more severe earthquake in Chile was a far more limited tragedy.
How Milton Friedman Saved Chile WSJ
A Tale of Two Quakes NCPA or WSJ
Why Haiti's Quake Toll Higher than Chile's CNN
Many articles give credit to building codes--but in a poor country, the choice is frequently: build cheaply or not at all. Only where wealth is sufficient can building codes even be considered.
Wealth is not the problem. Poverty is the problem. Wealth is the solution.