Mother Nature can be very nurturing but she can be very destructive. There have been hundreds of natural disasters that have ravaged Earth but these are the topmost destructive of them all. Here are your top 5 worst natural calamities.
1. 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake
It was during the early hours of the morning on December 26, 2004, that disaster struck in the countries that surround the Indian Ocean. The earthquake caused the Indian Plate to subduct by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis in nearby countries. With a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3, it was the third-largest and most devastating earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake lasted around 8 to 10 minutes and caused the Earth to vibrate as much as 0.4 inches or 1 centimeter. The epicenter was between Simeulue and Indonesia. But, it was not the earthquake that caused total destruction to the countries near the epicenter. It was the series of tsunamis that destroyed the lives of millions of people that followed.
Indonesia was the hardest-hit country alongside Sri Lanka, Thailand, and India. Many were not able to notice the signs of the tsunami as they felt that the earthquake had just happened. This would bring about many deaths to people who were still enjoying a fruitful day either at work on sea or vacation by the beach.
People from these countries would soon realize that tsunamis can reach up to 100 feet high and can crush them instantly. Over 200,000 people were killed and a million more were displaced because of the natural disaster. After the tragedy, a more up to date tsunami warning system was established.
2. 1976 Tangshan Earthquake
Also known as the Great Tangshan Earthquake, it was a natural disaster that occurred on July 28, 1976. It was believed to be the largest earthquake in the 20th century based on the death toll. The earthquake lasted around 14 to 16 seconds with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale but there were also reports of it being higher at around 8.2. 16 hours after the initial earthquake, an aftershock followed with a magnitude of 7.1 about the same as the initial earthquake. There were early warnings and predictions about the incoming disaster but only a few were able to prepare.
Once disaster happened, buildings instantly collapsed and trapped people inside. Tremors were felt as far as Beijing. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed and only a few were able to withstand the devastating earthquake.
Approximately 650,000 died in the earthquake and around 160,000 people were injured. China refused any international help from the United Nations and instead, aimed to have internal relief. There were several political repercussions after the disaster struck the nation.
3. Storm Of The Century
The Storm of the Century or the ’93 Superstorm was a large cyclonic storm that formed from the Gulf of Mexico and reached the borders of Canada. The storm-ravaged from the Gulf of Mexico to Cuba through to the Eastern United States and then moved on to Canada. The storm happened on March 12, 1993, just around the end of winter. Several areas in the United States that do not usually have snow reported having around 6 to 8 inches of snow whereas areas like Alabama reached around 12 inches while others have 16 inches of snow. Florida even had 4 inches of snow.
The storm surged with hurricane-force wind and scattered tornadoes killed hundreds of people. The storm also crippled the nation with the loss of electric power of over more than 10 million people. It was also the cause of more than 40 percent of the country’s population’s suffering at that time. By the end of the storm, around 318 people died.
4. Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane in 2005. It was also the costliest natural disaster amounting to 150 billion US dollars. It is the sixth strongest hurricane overall and killed more than 1,800 people. The hurricane formed over the Bahamas on August 23 and crossed Florida with a category 1 hurricane. It caused a few deaths over its way to Florida but when it struck the city of New Orleans, things were bound to get worse. The hurricane gained strength and pushed through category 5 by the time it hit the city. It caused the city’s levee system to break and caused floods within the city. Almost 80 percent of New Orleans was covered in water. But, the worse damage was at the coastal areas such as the Mississippi beach towns which were 90 percent covered in water in an instant.
New Orleans mayor had to mandate the entire city to evacuate long before the storm struck the city. But, they could not have predicted so much damage to the city. The city also provided the last option for people who could not evacuate the city in time to resort to seeking refuge at the Louisiana Superdome.
There, around 26,000 people were sheltered from the storm. They were then provided with food and water during the aftermath of the disaster. The hurricane also had an environmental impact causing beachfronts to erode and also obliterated the Chandeleur Islands.
5. 2010 Haiti Earthquake
The 2010 Haiti Earthquake was one of the most destructive for the Third World country of Haiti. The epicenter was as a nearby town of Leogane just a few miles from the capital city. The earthquake measured at 7.0 on the Richter scale but the aftershocks that followed were also destructive.
There were a total of 52 aftershocks that caused minor to severe destruction in the already decimated land. Notable landmarks were destroyed including the Presidential Palace and the National Assembly building.
Many organizations responded to help and dispatch hundreds of medical teams to rescue trapped civilians in the collapsed buildings. The capital city’s morgues were overwhelmed with the thousands of bodies that were delivered and most of them were buried in mass graves. Medical care and sanitation became top priorities for the aids. Violence and looting were also reported during these times.