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Natural Disaster

Natural Disasters result from Natural Hazards like, Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami which end up affecting human life due to the inability of humans to cope with the situation. If man is well -prepared for any kind of natural calamity which affects civilization, then maybe the extent of loss to mankind will not be severe.

 

Let us focus on some of the natural calamities which affect civilization.

AVALANCHE

Avalanche is caused due to the buildup of snow on a mountain which causes it to slide down forcefully bringing down with it huge rocks and other materials that are present on the mountains.

Some of the notable avalanches are:

  • 1999 Galtur Avalanche
  • 2002 Kolka-Karmadon rock ice slide

Top Ten deadliest natural disasters

Rank Event Location Date Death Toll (Estimate)
1. 1931 China floods China 01931-01-011931, July–November 2,000,000-4,000,000* [1]
2. 1887 Yellow River flood China 01887-01-011887, September–October 900,000–2,000,000
3. 1556 Shaanxi earthquake Shaanxi Province, China 01556-01-011556, January 23 830,000+
4. 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh 01970-01-011970, November 13 500,000
5. 1839 India Cyclone India 01839-01-011839, November 25 ≥ 300,000
6. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami Indian Ocean 02004-12-262004, December 26 283,100
7. 526 Antioch earthquake Antioch, Turkey 00526-05-20526, May 20 250,000
8. 1976 Tangshan earthquake Tangshan, Hebei, China 01976-07-281976, July 28 242,000
9. 1920 Haiyuan earthquake Haiyuan, Ningxia-Gansu, China 01920-12-161920, December 16 240,000
10. 1975 Banqiao Dam failure Henan, China 01975-08-011975, August 231,000

Deadliest natural disasters by kind of Event

Event Event name Location Date Death Toll (Estimate)
Avalanche Wellington avalanche United States 01910-03-01March 1, 1910 00000096 96
Blizzard Iran Blizzard Iran 01972-02-01February 1972 00004000 4,000
Drought Great Famine of 1876–78 India 01921-01-011876–1878 05000000 5,250,000
Earthquake Shaanxi Earthquake China 01556-01-01January 23, 1556 00830000 830,000
Flood 1931 China floods China 01931-01-011931 04000000 2,000,000–4,000,000
Hailstorm Roopkund, Uttaranchal India 00800-01-019th century 00000600 200–600
Heat wave European Heat Wave of 2003 Europe 02003-01-01June-August 2003 00037451 37,451
Landslide 1999 Vargas mudslides Venezuela December 1999 00020006 20,006
Limnic Eruption Lake Nyos Cameroon 01986-01-01August 21, 1986 00001746 1,746
Pandemic Black Death worldwide 01330-01-011330–1351 75000000 75,000,000
Tornado Saturia-Manikganj Sadar Tornado Bangladesh 01989-04-26April 26, 1989 00001300 1,300
Tropical cyclone 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh 01970-11-13November 13, 1970 00500000 200,000–500,000
Tsunami 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami Indian Ocean 02004-12-26December 26, 2004 00285000 230,000
Volcano Mount Tambora Indonesia 01815-01-011815 00092000 92,000
Wildfire Peshtigo Fire United States 01871-10-08October 8, 1871 00002000 2,000

EARTHQUAKE

An earthquake is a sudden eruption of stored energy which releases seismic waves and there is displacement of ground, natural and manmade objects. Seismic waves are waves which travel through the earth.

Earthquakes

Death Toll Event Location Year
$830,000 1556 Shaanxi earthquake China 1556
$286,000 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand 2004
$255,000 1976 Tangshan earthquake China 1976
$240,000 1920 Haiyuan earthquake China 1920
$ 230,000 1138 Aleppo earthquake Syria 1138
$200,000 Damghan earthquake Iran 1856
$150,000 Ardabil earthquake Iran 1893
$137,000 1730 Hokkaidō earthquake Japan 1730
$110,000 1948 Ashgabat earthquake Turkmenistan 1948
$105,000 Great Kanto earthquake Japan 1923
$100,000 Messina earthquake Italy 1908
$100,000 1755 Lisbon earthquake Portugal 1755
$100,000 Chihli earthquake China 1290
$86,000 2005 Kashmir earthquake Pakistan 2005
$85,000 Great Ansei Nankai Quakes, Japan Japan 1854
$80,000 Shamakhi Azerbaijan 1667
$77,000 Tabriz Earthquake Iran 1727
$70,000 Changma, Gansu earthquake China 1932
$ 69,197 2008 Sichuan earthquake China 2008
$66,000 Ancash earthquake Peru 1970
$60,000 Sicily earthquake[2] Italy 1693
$60,000 1935 Balochistan earthquake British India 1935
$50,000 Calabria earthquake Italy 1783
$40,000 Gulang, Gansu earthquake China 1927
$40,000 Meiō Nankai, Japan earthquake Japan 1498
$40,000 Quito earthquake Ecuador 1797
$37,000 Genroku earthquake Japan 1703
$35,000 1990 Manjil Rudbar earthquake Iran 1990
$32,962 Erzincan earthquake Turkey 1939
$30,000 Great Hōei Earthquake Japan 1707
$ 30,000 2003 Bam earthquake Iran 2003
$25,000 Spitak Earthquake Armenia 1988
$25,000 1978 Tabas earthquake Iran 1978
$23,700 Kamakura earthquake Japan 1293
$23,000 Guatemala earthquake Guatemala 1976
$20,000 Gujarat earthquake India 2001
$20,000 Caracas earthquake Venezuela 1812
$20,000 Chillán earthquake Chile 1939
$18,000 Khait earthquake Tajikistan 1949
$17,118 Izmit earthquake Turkey 1999


Some of the biggest earthquakes are:

  • 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale
  • July 2006 earthquake in Java measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale.LAHAR

Lahars is a kind of volcanic eruption which involves the sliding of materials like rock, ash, mud from the sides of the volcano at a rapid pace. These slides are so rapid and fast that they are capable of destroying entire town in seconds killing hundreds and thousands of people immediately.

The best example of a Lahars is the Tangiwai disaster in Columbia.

LANDSLIDES

Landslides are similar to avalanches, only instead of snow, naturally occurring ground materials like rocks, trees, houses etc or whatever can be swept up, slides down causing damage to property and humans. Landslides are caused due to earthquakes, volcanoes or anything which disturbs the ground surface.

VOLCANO

A volcano lies inside the earth's surface and it spews hot gases and molten rocks to the surface of the earth. The gases which are emitted are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen suphide, water vapor. The molten rock is called lava. A fissure in the earths crust forms it.

Deposits of molten material and solid matter from the earths interiors flows into the crust which erupts in the form of a volcano. A huge crater in the shape of a bowl is formed on top of the cone. The study of volcanoes is called volcanology

Top Ten Deadliest Volcanic eruptions

Death Toll Event Location Date
$ 92,000 Mount Tambora (see also Year Without a Summer) Indonesia 01815-01-011815
$36,000 Krakatoa Indonesia 01883-08-26August 26 - August 27, 1883
$29,000 Mount Pelée Martinique 01902-05-07May 7 or May 8, 1902
$23,000 Nevado del Ruiz Colombia 01985-11-13November 13, 1985
$18,000 Mount Vesuvius Italy 01631-01-011631
$15,000 Mount Unzen Japan 01792-01-011792
$10,000 Mount Kelut Indonesia 01586-01-011586
$9,350 Laki. Killed about 25% of the population (33% were killed about 70 years before by smallpox) Iceland 01783-06-08 June 8, 1783
$6,000 Santa Maria Guatemala 01902-01-011902
$5,115 Mount Kelut Indonesia 01919-05-19 May 19, 1919


There are 2 kinds of volcanoes: active and dormant

Active volcanoes are those which have erupted during historic times and dormant volcanoes are those which doesn't show any signs of eruptions but only gas escapes through them.

Limnic eruptions

Death Toll Event Location Date
$1,746 Lake Nyos Cameroon 1986
$37 Lake Monoun Cameroon 1984

Top Ten Deadliest Heat waves

Death Toll Event Location Date
37,451 2003 European heat wave Western Europe 02003-06-012003
3,418 2006 European heat wave France, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Romania 02006-01-012006
2,541 1998 India heat wave India 01998-01-011998
1,900 2003 India heat wave India 02003-01-012003
1,250–10,000 1980 United States heat wave United States 01980-01-011980
1,000–1,500 1987 Mediterranean heat wave Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy 01987-01-011987
over 1,000 1994 East Asia heat wave China, Japan, South Korea 01994-01-011994
739 Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 United States (Chicago, Illinois) 01995-01-011995
500 Hungary Heat Wave of 2007 Hungary 02007-01-012007
437 Southern regions, Australia 1895–1896 Australia 01895-01-011895–1896


Volcanic eruptions

Volcanic eruptions are small eruptions from a volcano. These eruptions come in many forms, right from daily eruptions to extremely infrequent super volcanic eruptions where the eruptions are equal to 1000 cubic kilometers of materials. Some eruptions are in the form of pyroclastic flows that are clouds of ash and steam that trail down mountainsides at a speed exceeding even airliners.

TSUNAMI

Tsunami is a huge tidal wave which is caused by underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Tsunami is derived from the Japanese word. A Tsunami can have speed of 800km/hr and the waves can reach up to 135 ft also above sea level. Tsunamis can have devastating effects which are capable of destroying entire townships located along the seacoast.

Top Ten Deadliest Tsunamis

Death Toll Event Location Date
$ 350,000 (sources vary) 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami Indian Ocean 2004
$100,000 1755 Lisbon earthquake/tsunami/fire Portugal, Morocco, Ireland, and the United Kingdom (Cornwall) 1755
$100,000 1908 Messina earthquake/tsunami Messina, Italy 1908
$36,000 caused by 1883 Krakatoa eruption Indonesia 1883
$30,000   Tokaido/Nankaido, Japan 1707
$27,000   Japan 1826
$25,674 1868 Arica earthquake/tsunami Arica, Chile 1868
$22,070   Sanriku, Japan 1896
$15,030 caused by 1792 Mount Unzen eruption in southwest Kyūshū Kyūshū, Japan 1792
$13,486   Ryukyu Trench 1771

A series of waves occur, each higher than the previous one. Generally Tsunamis occur along the ring of fire which is area of volcanoes and seismic activities along the Pacific Ocean. A seismograph is a device by which Tsunami warnings can be alerted.

TORNADOES

Tornadoes are the one of the natural disasters pertaining to weather conditions. They are also known as twisters. These winds are extremely violent and which rotate in anti-clockwise direction in the north of the equator and in clock-wise direction in the south of the equator. They look like black funnel extending from the base of the cloud. The Tornado rotates at the rate of 480kph or even faster.

The Tornadoes are not more than 1 km wide but they are capable of destructing vast areas. The air pressure in the center of the tornado is lower than in the surrounding areas. The speed of the wind sends objects flying in all directions and is the cause of destruction of life and property. The Tornado doesn't last in a place for more than few minutes. It skips from place to place because of which some places get devastated while others are untouched.

Top Ten Deadliest Storms (non-cyclone)

Death Toll Event Location Date
15,100 Torrential rains and mudslides Venezuela 1999
669 Heavy storms ("Winnie") Philippines 2004
500 Lofoten, Heavy storm Norway 1849
≥ 250 Great Lakes Storm of 1913 United States and Canada (Great Lakes region) 1913
210 Trøndelag, storm ("Follastormen") Norway 1625
189 Eyemouth, Scotland, storm ("Black Friday") United Kingdom 1881
140 Trøndelag, storm ("Titran disaster") Norway 1899
96 Lofoten, storm Norway 1868
30 Haugesund, storm ("Røvær disaster") Norway 1899
26 Vesterålen, storm Norway 1802

Top Ten Deadliest Tornadoes

Death Toll Event Location Date
$1,300 The Saturia-Manikganj Sadar Tornado Bangladesh; (Manikganj) 1989
$923 1969 East Pakistan Tornado Bangladesh 1969
$695 The Tri-State Tornado United States; (Missouri–Illinois–Indiana) 1925
$681 1973 Dhaka Tornado Bangladesh 1973
$600 The Malta Tornado Malta 1551
$500 The Sicily Tornado Italy 1851
$500 The Narail-Magura Tornadoes Bangladesh (Jessore) 1964
$500 The Comoro Tornado Comoro 1951
$440 The Tangail Tornado Bangladesh 1996
$400 Ivanovo, Yaroslavl Tornado Russia 1984

Tornadoes are caused when cold polar air meets warm tropical air which results in instability caused by the warm rising air. Lightning, rains and hail begin to form and soon the funnel starts descending from the cloud. It is not actually a funnel but when the pressure inside the clouds drop, moisture in the air condenses which comes down in the form of a funnel. This is known as Bernoulli's principle.

In 1925, a killer tornado occurred in US who had a speed of 60 mph and was 220 miles long and 1 mile wide.

Top Ten Deadliest Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons

Death Toll Event Location Date
500,000 500,000 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh (East Pakistan) 1970
300,000 300,000 1839 Indian cyclone India 1839
300,000 300,000 1881 Haiphong Typhoon Vietnam 1881
300,000 300,000 1737 Calcutta cyclone India 1737
210,000 210,000 Super Typhoon Nina China 1975
200,000 200,000 Great Backerganj Cyclone of 1876 present day Bangladesh 1876
140,000 ~146,000 Cyclone Nargis Myanmar 2008
138,866 138,866 1991 Bangladesh cyclone Bangladesh 1991
060,000 100,000 1882 Bombay cyclone Bombay, India June 6, 1882
060,000 60,000 1922 Swatow Typhoon China 1922
060,000 60,000 1864 Calcutta Cyclone India 1864

Top Ten Deadliest Floods and landslides

Death Toll Event Location Date
2,500,000–3,700,000 1931 China floods China 1931
900,000–2,000,000 1887 Yellow River (Huang He) flood China 1886
500,000–700,000 1938 Yellow River (Huang He) flood China 1938
231,000 Banqiao Dam failure, result of Typhoon Nina. Approximately 86,000 people died from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent disease. China 1975
145,000 1935 Yangtze river flood China 1935
more than 100,000 St. Felix's Flood, storm surge Netherlands 1530
100,000 Hanoi and Red River Delta flood North Vietnam 1971
100,000 1911 Yangtze river flood China 1911
50,000–80,000 St. Lucia's flood, storm surge Netherlands 1287
60,000 North Sea flood, storm surge Netherlands 1212

Top Ten Deadliest Wildfires, bushfires

Death Toll Event Location Date
$1,200–2,500 Peshtigo Fire, Wisconsin United States 1871
$453 Cloquet Fire, Minnesota United States 1918
$418 Hinckley Fire, Minnesota United States 1894
$≥ 250 Thumb Fire, Michigan United States 1881
$200–250 Matheson Fire, Ontario Canada 1916
$240 Sumatra, Kalimantan Indonesia 1997
$230 Landes region France 1949
$213 Greater Hinggan, Heilongjiang China 1987
$160 Miramichi Fire, New Brunswick Canada 1825
$110 1963 Paraná Forest fires, Brazil 1963

Top Ten Deadliest Blizzards

Death Toll Event Location Date
$4,000 Iran Blizzard Iran 1972
$1,317 2008 Afghanistan blizzard with snow storm Afghanistan 2008
$400 Great Blizzard of 1888 United States 1888
$318 1993 North American Storm Complex United States 1993
$235 Schoolhouse Blizzard United States 1888
$199 Hakkōda Mountains incident Japan 1902
$144 Armistice Day Blizzard United States 1940
$133 2008 China Blizzard during snow storm China 2008
$112 1995 Kazakh Blizzard during snow storm Kazakhstan 1995
$54 Blizzard of 1978 United States 1978

Contractible diseases

Death Toll Event Location Date
300,000,000-500,000,000 Smallpox Worldwide 01901-01-0120th century alone
approx. 100,000,000 Bubonic Plague: Black Death Asia, Europe, Africa 01300-01-011300s–1720s;
≥ 200,000,000 Measles Worldwide 01851-01-01last 150 years
80,000,000–250,000,000 Malaria Worldwide 01900-01-0120th century – present[update]
50,000,000–100,000,000 Spanish Flu Worldwide 01918-01-011918–1919
40,000,000–100,000,000 Tuberculosis Worldwide 01900-01-0120th century – present[update]
approx. 40,000,000 Bubonic Plague: Plague of Justinian Asia, Europe, Africa 00540-01-01540–590
25,250,000 AIDS Worldwide 01981-01-011981–present (as of 2007)
≥ 12,000,000 Bubonic Plague: Third Pandemic Worldwide 01850-01-011850s–1950s
5,000,000 Antonine Plague Roman Empire 00165-01-01165–180
4,000,000 Asian Flu pandemic Worldwide 01957-01-011957
750,000 Hong Kong Flu pandemic Worldwide 01968-01-011968
775 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Mostly East Asia, few cases in Europe, Canada and United States 02002-01-012002–2003
677 West Nile Virus outbreak North America 01999-01-011999–2004
256 H5N1 strain of Bird Flu (mainly in Asia, few in Africa and Middle East) 02003-01-012003–present (as of 2007)

DROUGHT

Drought occurs when there is no rainfall in a geographic area where there is normally rainfall. There is a severe spell of dry weather conditions. Wells dry up, water-reservoirs dry up, crops are severely affected. Droughts occur when moisture-carrying winds from the oceans or other sources are replaced by dry winds. In such cases, there is a dry spell. If it lasts for a few days then it is known as dry spell. Whereas if the weather conditions prevail it is known as drought.

The effects of drought are many rights from drying of crops, drying of wells, death of wild stock and water habitats, increase in forest fires. Destruction of crops has multiple ill-effects ranging from unemployment of farmers, reduction in income, and increase in prices of crops and also suicides in farmers.

To sum it up, natural disasters are unavoidable, but with planning, foresight and implementation, the impact on human development can be reduced to a considerable extent.


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