Little is known about high school students' perceptions of earthquake disasters in the Middle East region. It has been shown that individuals can possess various attitudes towards earthquakes based on gender, ethnicity, social class and disaster-related knowledge and experiences. This study explores the perceptions of two groups: 498 public high school students in Lebanon and 465 public high school students in Turkey. Both groups completed a survey investigating their perceptions of earthquake hazards. An independent t-test revealed significant statistical differences in schools' roles in implementing needed disaster risk education on earthquakes, while both groups exhibit high adherence to fatalistic beliefs. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.