Natural disasters all over the world have been experienced by mankind for centuries. Oftentimes we would think that a recent catastrophe could be the worst. But nature seems to keep surprising us.
We have been preparing for these natural disasters as they come. We learn from these calamities and come up with a disaster preparedness plan so that if anything of the same intensity happens in the future, we can avoid or lessen injuries or loss of lives. But just how prepared are we? I guess we’ll have to discuss that in another article to find out. Today, we need to know what we’re up against.
10 Natural Disasters You Should Educate Yourself With
What really scares us the most is we never know when catastrophes like these will happen again in the days to come. So for now, let’s see history unfold as we tackle the most powerful natural disasters that have rocked humanity. These are based on the intensity or force delivered resulting to the number of lives lost or damages caused. Of course, we could not cover all of them so let’s just pick ten of them, shall we?
1. Valdivia Earthquake
With a magnitude of 9.5 on the MMS or moment magnitude scale (some say may have even reached up to 9.6 Mw) was the quake that rocked Bio-Bio, Chile for approximately 10 minutes on May 22, 1960. It was and arguably, still is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The death toll was recorded roughly at a maximum of 6,000 and an estimated monetary damage of $400 million to $800 million.
2. 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake
Although the quake that rocked Shaanxi, China was recorded only at 8.0 to 8.3, it was said to be the deadliest in history. The death toll reached an estimated 830,000. It occurred smack in the middle of a heavily populated area factored with buildings and homes that were poorly constructed.
3. 2015 Nepal Earthquake
The earthquake that rumbled through Sindhupalchok, Kathmandu, Nepal on April 29, 2015 was a 7.8 magnitude killing almost 9,000 people. What makes this quake one of the most powerful natural disasters is the whopping estimated $6 billion in damages.
4. The Great Bhola Cyclone
The tropical cyclone that hit Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) on November 12, 1970, was said to be the deadliest ever recorded with an estimated death toll of 300,000 to 500,000.
5. The 1970 Huascaran Avalanche
The Huascaran avalanche was a result of the Ancash earthquake, where the avalanche buried the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca. Over 18,000 lives were lost under 50 – 100 million m3 rumbling snow, ice, rock and soil which traveled at an average speed of 280 to 335 kilometers per hour.
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6. The 1972 Iran Blizzard
The blizzard blasted Iran for about a week burying villages under 26 feet of snow. About 4,000 people died in what is to be arguably the deadliest blizzard of all time.
7. 2003 European Heat Wave
This heat wave swept through 10 countries in Europe from July to August 2003. France took most of the brunt with 20.7% of the final death estimate of 71, 310.
8. 1931 China Floods
Dubbed as “China’s Sorrow” the Yellow River covers 3,000 miles snaking across China. Heavy rains over the month of July to August 1931 caused the river to overflow, flooding the surrounding countryside and killing an estimated 4,000,000 people.
9. 1907 Chinese Famine
The number of people dead due to the 1907 famine in China was at 25 million. Some may argue that this was just the second worst famine compared to the 43 million dead during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. However, we’re talking mainly of natural causes where on 1907 a colossal storm flooded and destroyed 100% of the crops. The latter was mainly of political causes by governments’ “Great Leap Forward” movement.
10. The Mt. Tambora Volcanic Eruption
The Dutch East Indies now known as Sumbawa, Indonesia experienced one the worst natural disaster when Mt. Tambora erupted on April 5 – 10, 1815. Official death estimates were at 71,000 but there were those that had put the figures almost 70% more than the declared figure.
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