Natural disasters are large-scale events that occur due to Earth’s biological processes. Seismograms, tsunamis, and storms are all examples.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and tsunamis are some of the most prevalent natural catastrophes. Many catastrophic occurrences occurred throughout the twentieth century (1901-2000), some of which are among the worst natural disasters ever. Various sections of the world were devastated by floods, earthquakes, and tropical storms.
This list highlights the world’s most devastating natural catastrophes since the century.
1. China Floods (China)
1–4,000,000 People have died.
China was hit by a series of unusual weather events in 1931, starting with a lengthy drought and ending with a snowy winter. The spring thaw was accompanied by hefty rain, which worsened as the year progressed. July saw seven cyclones impact the country, compared to the usual one or two, each sending more and more water to the country’s most vulnerable areas.
In August 1931, the Yangtze River was flooded due to torrential rainfall in southern China. Due to severe rain in April, the river had already reached its maximum capacity.
Millions of people died due to drowning, while others died of illnesses such as cholera and typhus. The high-water mark was predicted to have reached 16 meters (53 feet!) above typical levels. As a result, the Yangtze Valley’s wheat and rice crops were damaged to the tune of 15%.
2. Bhola cyclone (Bangladesh)
500,000 lives lost
A cyclone struck Bangladesh on November 11, 1970, causing massive storm-surge flooding that wreaked havoc on the country’s low-lying areas.
It remains the deadliest tropical cyclone and one of the deadliest natural catastrophes ever recorded. At least 500,000 people were killed by the storm, which inundated much of the Ganges Delta’s low-lying islands.
The subsequent storm surge boosted water levels by an average of four meters above normal, thanks to peak winds of roughly 115 miles per hour. As a result, most deaths were caused by severe floods.
A radio warning was broadcast, stating that a major storm was approaching. According to estimates, around 90% of the people in flood-stricken areas received the notice, but only roughly 1% took action, seeking shelter for the storm’s duration.
This cyclone was the strongest of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, and it was also the sixth.
3. Haiti earthquake (Haiti)
Three hundred sixteen thousand people have died.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake had a devastating magnitude of 7.0 Mw. It happened on January 12, 2010, but aftershocks, some of which were almost powerful enough to be classified as earthquakes in their own right, persisted for days, collapsing already shaky structures and severely delaying rescue attempts.
The tiny island nation was already impoverished, and the earthquake wreaked havoc on its weak economy, costing millions of dollars.
The earthquake impacted around three million people. The death toll is between 100,000 and 316,000 people. In addition, the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the central prison were severely damaged or destroyed buildings.
The country has struggled to recover a lot Since the earthquake, with many displaced survivors staying in makeshift shelters and scraping by. Cholera is rife in regions where the water supply has not been fully restored, and the death toll attributable to the earthquake is likely substantially higher than the official total.
4. Haiyuan earthquake (China)
273,400 lives lost
On December 16, 1920, the Haiyuan earthquake struck Haiyuan County in the Republic of China’s Ningxia Province. The Gansu earthquake of 1920 was also known as that. because when the earthquake struck, Ningxia was part of Gansu Province
The magnitude of this earthquake was XII on the Mercalli Scale, making it extremely powerful and damaging to the local environs. In the cities of Longde and Huining, nearly every house fell. Lanzhou, Taiyuan, Xi’an, Xining, and Yinchuan were the leading towns hit.
5. Tangshan earthquake (China)
242,769–655,000 people have died.
The Great Tangshan earthquake happened in 1976. A magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the region near Tangshan, Hebei, People’s Republic of China, on July 28, 1976, resulting in a natural catastrophe.
Tangshan, a one-million-people industrial metropolis, vanished in minutes. All services failed, and most highway and railway bridges crumbled or were severely damaged.
This earthquake killed at least 242,000 people, making it the third-worst in recorded history.
Over 75% of the homes and not fortified buildings were destroyed. In addition, an aftershock struck Luanxian, 43 miles south of Tangshan, later in the day. Additional damage and casualties resulted as a result of this.
6. Typhoon Nina (China)
Two hundred twenty-nine thousand people died.
Typhoon Nina, also known as Typhoon Bebeng in the Philippines, was the worst tropical cyclone.
The storm meandered slowly across the country, bringing flooding, landslides, and a few deaths, but its deadliest feature occurred when it stalled over Henan Province due to a cold front. Over a year’s worth of rain poured in only 24 hours, breaking records.
The Banqiao Dam was irreversibly damaged when it collapsed, dumping 1.67 billion cubic meters of water on an unsuspecting populace living downstream.
The Banqiao Dam collapsed, destroying communities downstream and killing at least 229,000 people.
The wave was 10 kilometers broad and 3 to 7 meters high, at a pace of 31 miles per hour. Unfortunately, poor weather impeded and delayed attempts to send out warnings as soon as it became clear that the dam was ready to fall, and many people were unaware that their lives were at risk.
7. Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami
227,898 people died
The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami hit off the west coast of northern Sumatra in 2004.
A fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate ruptured, causing the earthquake. The tsunamis killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 nations, wreaking havoc on communities throughout the Indian Ocean’s surrounding shores.
That was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history, wreaking havoc on living conditions and business in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
8. Indian Ocean: Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004
230,000 lives lost
This natural calamity is also known as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. It is well-known because of the abundance of films captured on the scene by tourists and people affected by the tsunami.
It is now thought that the earthquake in Sumatra in 2002 was an early warning of rising pressure beneath the water, indicating the impending devastation two years later. About 1,600 kilometers of the Indian continental plate slid rapidly beneath the Burma plate in the early hours of Boxing Day, triggering a 15-meter breach — a massive and rapid change in geographic terms.
Despite the epicenter being thousands of miles away, the earthquake produced massive and extensive devastation due to its sheer scale, resulting in tsunamis that flooded fourteen nations and altered water levels throughout the world. Because the breach happened near to the surface and resulted in a massive discharge of energy, considerably more than even the most powerful man-made explosion, the devastation was extensive.
9. Great Kantō earthquake (Japan)
On Saturday, September 1, 1923, the Great Kant earthquake rocked the Kant Plain on the Japanese main island of Honshu at 11:58:44 JST. According to several sources, the quake lasted between four and 10 minutes. This earthquake wreaked havoc on Tokyo, Yokohama, and the nearby prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, causing significant devastation over the Kant area.
10. Bangladesh Cyclone (Bangladesh)
The storm that hit Bangladesh in 1991 was one of the worst. The storm affected the Chittagong area in southern Bangladesh on April 29, 1991, with gusts of roughly 250 km/h (155 mph).
Warnings about the storm’s potential severity were sent, but some residents could not evacuate in time. In contrast, others refused to go because they did not believe the storm would be as catastrophic as anticipated.
The hurricane sent a 6-meter (20-foot) storm surge inland, killing at least 138,866 people and displacing ten million people. Damage from the hurricane was $1.5 billion in 1991 money.
A natural catastrophe is an unforeseen incident that results in broad devastation, extensive collateral damage, or fatalities. It has a significant environmental impact and personal and financial losses.