Top 10 Devastating Natural Disasters Of All Time


Nothing can compromise to the death toll caused by the dangerous and devastating natural disasters all across the globe with death toll of unimaginable sum. The natural disasters majorly caused in the history include, earthquake, cyclone, flood and drought. It is a matter of grief to the people living today if the past is taken into consideration of fatalities caused to our ancestors who were killed in the most insane and deadly natural disasters.  Here we have listed the top 10 devastating natural disasters of all time in terms of death toll.

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10. Antioch earthquake (526)

526 Antioch earthquake

The Antioch earthquake was a huge bang that was hit on Syria and Antioch in 526 killing over 250,000 people at a single shot. The quake struck with a magnitude of 7.5 between May 20 and 29, which was followed by fire and consecutive earthquakes that left people of Byzantine Empire with hefty awkwardness. Syria however is considered as the most dangerous countries in the world in terms of crime and terrorism, and  the country is prone to natural disasters as well, which further adds the grief to the country. There were many successive jolts after the earthquake was hit on May 20 that continued for the next 18 months.

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9. Haiyuan Earthquake (1920)

Haiyuan Earthquake

Haiyuan, located in Republic of China, experienced a catastrophic earthquake in 1920 that destroyed the city with a magnitude of about 7.8 with fatality rate of 273,400 people. However, the reports allegedly justifies the magnitude was about 8.5. The major cities like Xining, Taiyuan, Lanzhou, and Xi’an were hit drastically, and the impact triggered landslide in Guyuan County that killed more than 30,000 people. There were successive shocks and jolts after the impact of earthquakes, which caused comprehensive hassle to the country. The earthquake as well caused the river streams to deviate from the usual path, leading to minor flood across the state.

8. Indian Ocean and earthquake – Tsunami (2004)

Indian Ocean and earthquake Tsunami

The Tsunami is the world’s most devastating natural disasters ever known to human civilization. Technically, Tsunami is an occurrence of earthquake under the sea and impact caused is comparatively not hazardous. But, when the quake strikes with a magnitude of above 9.0 under the sea, then the issue is a serious concern. 2004 Indian Ocean and earthquake was a disaster where the earthquake burst with a magnitude of 9.1-9.3, which took lives of about 280,000 people. The epicentre was recorded off the west coast of Sumatra and the impact was insane enough to kick the shockwaves up to 100 feet at a pace of 150 km/h. The tragedy was even more affected since the devastation was on a Christmas Day. The bizarre shockwave destroyed lands of 14 countries, wherein the hardest hit was Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka.

7. Calcutta Cyclone (1737)

Calcutta Cyclone

The Calcutta cyclone was considered to have been formed as a result of succeeded earthquake in Europe. The Calcutta, currently recognized as Kolkata, was struck by a lethal cyclone on October 7, 1737, that took lives of about 300,000 people. Though the population was about 20,000 in Kolkata in 1737, the fatalities were included from the disaster caused to the West Bengal regions as well, which was considered from popular literature. The Cyclone was responsible for destroying about 20,000 ships from the harbour including the nearby villages, causing the most disastrous in the history of mankind. The cyclone blew away homes, cut the connection of railway tracks, caused landslide in mountain regions, and induced flood as well across the state.

6. Bhola Cyclone (1970)

Bhola Cyclone

Bhola Cyclone was a destructive cyclone that was powerful enough to kill 500,000 people on a total. On 12 November 1970, the cyclone was struck in Bangladesh with highly potential wind speed of 185 km/h. The cyclone uprooted almost all nearby islands that affected about 45% of the inhabitants from Upazila. The destruction caused by cyclone was estimated about 86 million Dollars, when comparing this figures back in 1970s is a hefty sum to recover back. Bhola Cyclone also was impacted in West Bengal, but was not hit comparatively to Bangladesh. Superseded by the cyclone, the spread of deadly disease caused the death toll to rise to a drastic level.

5. Tangshan Earthquake (1976)

Tangshan Earthquake

Tangshan is an industrial city located in northeastern of Hebei in China, where the tremor was encountered with the magnitude of 7.8. It is considered as the biggest and disastrous earthquake in 20th century in terms of death toll. The fatalities were estimated to be about 655,000, which were officially announced by the government of China. However, though providential escape by some of the victims, the figure was reduced to approximately 240,000. The jolt was again triggered after 16 hours of the initial earthquake that put some extra fuel to the death toll, and was with a potential magnitude of 7.1.

4. Shaanxi Earthquake (1556)

Shaanxi Earthquake

Shaanxi Earthquake is the world’s most terrifying earthquake, which was recorded with the Richter Scale Magnitude of 8.0 – 8.3. Though the magnitude seems comparatively less when compared to some of the other disasters, the epicentre was at the China’s prime location. In 1556, a ruthless jolt was encountered by the people of China merely in the evening, which led to about 830,000 fatalities. Since the area of epicentre was highly populated, there was no providential escape for the majority of the victims. The buildings constructed nearby were not strong enough to bear the quake that almost crushed the people to corpse. The quake also impacted the mountain terrains leading to massive landslides that almost covered the entire portion of the nearby village by contributing to the death toll.

3. Yellow River Flood (1887)

Yellow River Flood

As the name says, Yellow River Flood was caused due to overflow of a nearby river, which was originally constructed by the farmers in 1887 to facilitate as a reservoir. However, the river outperformed the capacity by excess overflow due to rain and resulted in a massive flood that led to a destructing flood. The flood was devastating enough to kill about 900,000 to 2,000,000 and toppled the crops, crushed the huts, and sparked the most dangerous diseases. About two million people were left homeless due to the flood, and the water was covered entirely on 50,000 square mile area.

2. China Flood (1931)

China Flood

In 1931, China experienced a deadly and devastating flood which was known to be the worst hit in 20th century. The total fatalities caused by the China Flood was estimated to be about 3.7 million and 4 million making one of the worst disasters in history of mankind. The starvation, death, homeless, and diseases were very common, wherein the major impact was from July to August, 1931. The abnormal weather condition was the major cause behind the flood, which lasted continuously for two long months that led the water logged in entire affected areas up to 2.5 feet. The entire scene resembled a land of 70,000 square-feet under the seawater, where the survival of any individual is impossible.

1. The Deadliest Drought – China (1876-1879)

The Deadliest Drought

The Deadliest Drought is also commonly recognized as “The Northern Chinese Famine” was the most horrifying natural disasters of all time. The drought condition was insane, which hit almost all regions in China. There was no rainfall for three consecutive years that resembled the entire zone as a desert. About 9-13 million people died of starvation and disease. The hunger was spread in every corner of the affected region, yet none had a hand to help them recover from hunger for over three long years. The scotching heat and water scarcity led to the death of crops with complete shutdown of all the food production industry, which produced a perfect nightmare for the victims.

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