A natural disaster can cause destruction on a mega scale and result in extensive damage to life and property. Natural disasters occur due to earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, landslides and volcanic eruption. Any untoward happening that leads to environmental imbalance, loss of human life and financial loss qualifies to be a natural disaster. Here is a list of top 10 natural disasters in world’s history.
10. The Great Blizzard:
A fierce storm (also known as the Great Blizzard) approached the East Coast of US on March 12-13, 1993. Various cities in the region received 12 to 13 inches of snow on that single night. A total of 310 people lost their lives as temperatures plummeted to a new low. Though the number of deaths does not establish it as an ‘extremely’ serious disaster but the after effects were terrifying. There had never been so many deaths due to a snow storm. Many believe that this storm laid the foundation of future catastrophes.
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9. Cyclone Bhola:
On November 12, 1970, Cyclone Bhola hit Bangladesh and killed as many as 500,000 to 1,000,000 people. It is one of the deadliest cyclones ever recorded in human history. The range of destruction is unmatched by any other disaster caused by a cyclone probably because Bangladesh is a densly populated country. Sluggish relief operations by the local administration further escalated the troubles which lead to the outbreak of epidemics.
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8. Lake Nyos carbon dioxide release:
It is one of the most bizarre natural disasters in the human history. On August 21, 1986 Lake Nyos in Cameroon suddenly released tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The number of causalities reported from the surrounding areas rose to 1,800 very quickly. This abrupt of escape of carbon dioxide from the lap of earth through a lake is still regarded as one of the most fearsome and terrifying incidents in the human history.
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7. Chilean Earthquake:
An earthquake caused unprecedented havoc in Chile on May 22, 1960. According to official records approximately 6,000 people were killed in this disaster. On Richter scale, the quake was measured around 9.5 in magnitude making it the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. Around 40 percent of the houses in Vladivia, a city in Chile, were completely destroyed. The incident still brings horrific memories to those who survived the earthquake.
(img source: telegraph.co.uk)
6. Japanese nuclear disaster:
An earthquake of magnitude 9.0 struck the coastal area of Sendai in Japan on March 11, 2011 triggering the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear tragedy – the second biggest nuclear disaster of the world. The total number of casualties due to the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster number around 20,000. This disaster is also termed as the world’s most expensive. It can also be counted as one of the biggest disasters that will continue to cause damage for a very long time due to the nuclear crisis that followed earthquake.
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5. Kobe earthquake:
The Great Hanshin earthquake occurred on January 17, 1995 in Hyogo near the city of Kobe, Japan. Measuring around 6.8 on Richter scale it left more than 6,600 people dead. It was no doubt one of the deadliest catastrophes of the last decade of the 20th century. The earthquake resulted in a loss of $100 billion which was 2.5 percent of Japan’s then economy. The death toll from the earthquake stood at 6,434. The epicenter of the earthquake was located 16 km beneath its epicenter. It was one of those few earthquakes that triggered a debate on safety and preventive measures.
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4. The great floods of China:
The most deadly natural disaster in the Chinese history occurred when the Yellow River turned against the very people it had been nurturing for centuries. Floods in the Yellow River for several weeks from July to November in the year 1931 caused widespread havoc. The death count was in the range of 3 million to 4 million. In terms of the total number of causalities and collateral loss, it is the most terrifying natural disaster that ever shook China.
(img source: history.cultural-china.com)
3. The Indian Ocean Tsunami:
On December 26, 2004 an earthquake near Indonesia measuring around 9.3 caused unprecedented havoc in coastal areas when it resulted in a mighty tsunami that spared no one. It not only hit the coasts of many South East Asian nations but reached and wrecked havoc in many East African countries too leaving more than 220,000 people dead in all. The enormity of the earthquake can be gauged from the fact that it caused Earth to vibrate by 1 centimeter. The tsunami destroyed many residential and commercial buildings in coastal areas resulting in huge financial losses.
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2. Haiyuan, the monster dragon:
The Haiyuan earthquake (also called the Gansu earthquake) is now believed to have been of magnitude 8.5 but when it struck Ningxia province, the heart of China, on December 16, 1920 there was no method to determine its ferocity. Nevertheless, it killed an estimated 235,000 people. The earthquake is considered one of the most deadly in the history of China. It financially strained China for several years quite like the aftershocks which kept coming for three years from the date the quake struck.
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1. Bengal famine:
In the year 1769, the Bengal famine shook the length and breadth of the country. The famine was so devastating that it resulted in the loss of 10 million lives, approximately one-third of the total population of the then Bengal region. The main reason was attributed to loss in production of crops leading to severe drought conditions. People starved to death in the famine that lasted till 1773. The affected population returned back to jungles in order to survive giving birth to the legacy of thugs and dacoits for decades to come.
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