Biggest Natural Disasters in the World
Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, cyclones, and typhoons – these are just a few of the natural occurrences in the planet that no one can control and hardly be prepared for. For many years, we have witnessed or heard of natural disasters that made a huge impact in a certain country, particularly in their economy and health situation. Here are the biggest natural disasters in the world.
Aleppo Earthquake, 1138
Aleppo is located in Syria, north to the Dead Sea. An earthquake hit the region, killing more than 230,000 people. The worst affected area was Harim, where the citadel was built by the Crusaders and hundreds of guards were killed when the building collapsed. The fort of Atharib was also destroyed.
The Great Flood, 1931
Perhaps, the deadliest natural disaster ever recorded was the Great Flood in central China due to the over flooding of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, and the Huai River, which wiped out about 88,000 square km of land mass area and resulted to more than 4 million fatalities.
Bhola Cyclone, 1970
In Bangladesh, the Bhola cyclone which hit the Bay of Bengal was the deadliest tropical cyclone in history. It resulted to more than 500,000 fatalities due to the storm surge which flooded the low-lying islands within the area. Several relief agencies and international assistance were sent to Bangladesh especially with the aftermath of the calamity.
Banqiao Dam Failure, 1975
Designed to survive a 1-in-1000-yr flood, Banqiao Dam gave up when Typhoon Nina led to a 1-in-2000-yr flood took hold in 1975 which resulted into 1 3-7 meter high and 6 miles wide wave that hit the lower plains, wiping out the villages. There was no forewarning or orders to evacuate because the communication system that time was inadequate due to the unfavorable weather situation. The Banquiao Dam failure resulted to over 231,000 fatalities in Henan province, China.
Tangshan Earthquake, 1976
Considered as the third deadliest earthquake of modern history, the Great Tangshan Earthquake in China resulted to about 300,000 fatalities in just a period of 15 seconds. The epicenter of the earthquake was found near Tangshan, an industrial city which has about 1 million residents. The disaster happened in the middle of political disputes which involved the Communist Party of China. It is a traditional belief that calamities happen as a sign of sovereign change.
Gujarat Earthquake, 2001
During India’s 51st Republic Day, Gujarat Earthquake hit the area with a recorded 7.6-7.7 magnitude on the Richter scale and lasted for more than 2 minutes. The aftermath: there was a recorded 20,000 fatalities, 167,000 injured, and 600,000 people lost their homes.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
In the history of the United States, Hurricane Katrina was considered as one of the deadliest, costliest natural disasters in the world and most destructive Atlantic hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It was also the 6th strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded. The hurricane claimed over 1,833 recorded lives and an estimated $81 billion total property damages.
Haiti Earthquake, 2010
On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, around 4:53 in the afternoon, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the town of Leogane, about 25 km west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Twelve days later, there were recorded 52 aftershocks with 4.5 magnitudes. There were more than 3 million people affected by the earthquake and an estimated 220,000 fatalities. About 250,000 homes were destroyed and over 30,000 industrial buildings collapsed during the quake.
Japan Tsunami, 2011
On March 11, 2011, at around 2:26 in the afternoon, the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Tohoku with a magnitude scale of 9.0. It was considered as the most powerful earthquake that ever hit Japan. It was also the 5th most powerful earthquake in the planet since 1900. Because of the very strong earthquake, huge tsunami waves followed that reached up to 40.5 meters and traveled up to 10 km inland. It led to the movement of Honshu about 2.4 m east and the shifted the Earth on its axis about 10 to 25 cm. The aftermath: there were 15,883 casualties confirmed, 6,144 were injured and more than 2,500 people are still missing. Almost 130,000 infrastructures were totally damaged, more than 250,000 half-collapsed and about 700,000 buildings were partly damaged. In the northeastern part of Japan, more than 4 million residents had power blackouts and more than 1 million residents had no water supply.
These natural disasters have truly made a mark in the history of mankind. The damages and the lives lost can never be replaced, but what is important is that every citizen must be prepared for whatever may happen and is ready to reach out to others who are affected by such natural calamities.