Top 10 World's Worst Natural Disasters In History

Statistically, since the year 1980, the natural disasters incidents that have occurred worldwide have been increasing consistently from years onwards comprising the three biggest natural disasters mainly earthquakes, typhoons, and floods.

Studies have also proven that of all the continents on this earth, the Asian region poses the highest risk of natural disasters to occur. So it is not surprising to see on tv about the countries in Asia being heavily affected by mother nature.

It was estimated that around 45,000 people died from these unfortunate events including tragic events like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, tsunamis, floods, forest fires, and droughts each year.

Whereas it was estimated that roughly 150 million people were affected by natural disasters around the world. In the year 2020 alone, there have been 8,100 deaths reported from these events around the globe.

Here we would like to share with you the top 10 world's worst natural disasters to ever occur since the 1900s.

10. Haiyuan Earthquake, China 1920 (273k Deaths)

On 16th December 1920, a big earthquake with a scale of 7.8 magnitudes hit Haiyuan County, Ningxia district, China. This event has caused almost 273,400 lives lost including individuals who passed away several months later due to complications.

Consecutive earthquakes that usually happen as well as the worst winter to endure after the earthquake have killed many people who initially survived. Haiyuan earthquake changes the stream of the rivers causing landslides and many lands to crack. 

Overall, around 20,000 km square meters of Haiyuan County were affected by this earthquake.

9. Kanto Earthquake, Japan 1923 (140k Deaths)

The Tokyo-Yokohama earthquake or also known as the Great Kanto earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 hit the metropolitan city of Tokyo-Yokohama that occurred on 1 September 1923.

The number of casualties due to the earthquake was more than 140,000 deaths More than half of the buildings and 1/10 of the concrete structures in the region fell down to the ground.

Hundreds of thousands of homes were obliterated by the trembling earthquake or burned down to ashes by the fire. The situation was much worse as a tsunami with a staggering height of 39.5 feet appeared at Atami at Sagami Bay causing the destruction of 155 homes and killing 60 people.

8. Yangtze River Flood, China 1931 (3.7 million Deaths)

On 18th August 1931, the worst natural disaster of the 20th century occurred as the water in the Yangtze River in China overflowed and causes a huge flood that took 3.7 million lives. The Yangtze River flows through the southern part of China which also happens to be one of the densest areas in that region.

The people here that are mostly self-reliant highly depend on the river for personal use and agriculture. According to the Nature of Disaster in China, the flood has caused 70,000 square miles of area to be submerged in water changing the landscape of the Yangtze to look like a lake or a huge ocean.

7. Bhola Typhoon, Bangladesh 1970 (300k - 500k Deaths)

This tropical typhoon hit an area that is now called Bangladesh which at the time was Eastern Pakistan on 12-13 November 1970. According to the research department of NOAA typhoon, the speed of the win reached up to 205km/h making it a category 4 typhoon.

On land, the wave of the win was 10.6 meters in height hitting small islands bordered by Bengal Bay that ultimately resulted in a huge flood. The overwhelming wind on top of the low displacement of people has caused the death toll to be high at an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 deaths.

6. Vietnam Flood, 1971 (100k Deaths)

The flood at the Red River Delta 1971 that is located in Hanoi happened during the occurrence of Vietnam war when the country was put under US military rule. Even though the flood was overshadowed by the military, it is still considered one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vietnam.

The flood affected the people of North Vietnam and killed at least 100,000 people.

5. Nina Typhoon, China 1975 (150k Deaths)

The Republic of China was hit by the Nina typhoon in August 1975. Due to the devastating typhoon, the dam of Banquo and Shimantan collapsed which causes an overwhelming flood that has not happened before in Western Henan, China.

The flood has taken more than 150,000 lives making it one of the deadliest typhoons in history.

4. Tangshan Earthquake, China 1976 (255k Deaths)

On 28th July 1976, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 destroyed almost 85% of buildings in the city with a population of close to 1 million people. 

It was estimated that at least 255,000 people died from this earthquake with hundreds of thousands of people reported to be heavily injured.

3. Bangladesh Typhoon, 1991 (144k Deaths)

The Bangladesh typhoon that occurred on 22-30th April 1991 happens to be one of the worst tropical typhoons ever to be recorded. The storm hits close to the region of Chittagong, home to one of the most populated cities in Bangladesh.

It was estimated that 140,000 people died due to the typhoon and as many as 10 million people lost their homes. The damages were also amounting to billions of dollars.

2. Hindi Ocean Tsunami, 2004 (230k - 280k Deaths)

Happened on 26 December 2004 in the western ocean of North Sumatra, an earthquake took place with a magnitude of 9.1 which can be considered very deadly. The earthquake under the ocean was due to the Burma plate that has moved underneath the Indian Plate and moved into the Earth's mantle.

Due to the movement in the ocean, one devastating tsunami took place along the beach of the Indian Ocean and took at least 230,000 lives. This happens to be a tsunami event that took the most lives in history as well as the longest tsunami to have ever occurred which was between 8 to 10 minutes.

To make matters worst, it also resulted in planet Earth shaking for 1 cm. As many as 14 countries in Asia and Eastern Africa were affected by this disaster. Countries that are heavily impacted will be Indonesia followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

1. Haiti Earthquake, 2010 (100k - 300k Deaths)

On 12 January 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit almost 16 miles of the western capital city of Haiti. Happening at 4.53 pm, the earthquake can be felt by almost 3 million people and triggered 52 following earthquakes within 2 weeks.

This earthquake destroyed more than 250,000 homes and more than 30,000 commercial buildings crumbles to the ground. The death toll was hard to be estimated and has become the main question for many years.

The official record of the Haiti government was more than 300,000 people but other estimations were far much less.


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