Climate change and global warming are among the most discussed issues nowadays. One of the reasons is that more and more links between climate change and natural disasters are being discovered. In fact, because of global warming and increased temperatures, storms and hurricanes are becoming more intense, while droughts and floods are becoming more frequent and severe. Since nature is an indifferent force when it comes to human lives and since some natural disasters are unavoidable, we should do everything in our power to reduce the frequency and intensity of such catastrophic events. Moreover, in order to be fully aware of the consequences of such extreme disasters, here are the three worst natural disasters of the past century.
The Worst Natural Disasters by Death Toll: China floods
The China floods occurred in 1931 in central and eastern China. These floods involved the main rivers of China – the Yangtze, the Yellow River, and the Huai rivers – and weather effects that occurred during those years. The floods started after two years of severe drought. Moreover, the winter between 1930 and 1931 was very harsh with a lot of snow and ice in the mountains. In early spring, the snow and ice melted and reached the Yangtze region during a period of heavy rain. Moreover, the summer of that year was characterized by a lot of cyclonic activity that fueled the floods. The estimated death toll varies from 3 and 4 million people.
The Bhola Cyclone
In 1970, between April and December, the North India Ocean was affected by seven cyclonic storms between April and December. The sixth cyclone – called Bhola cyclone – which struck the territories of East Pakistan and India’s West Bengal on November 3, is, to this day, the deadliest cyclonic storm that has ever occurred. More than 500,000 people lost their lives because of this natural disaster. Most of the casualties were a result of storm surge that hit the islands of the Ganges Delta.
The Haiti Earthquake
Even though earthquakes do not seem to be influenced by climate change, such events remind us of nature’s power and indifference towards human beings. Therefore, it is worth mentioning the third deadliest natural disaster: the Haiti earthquake. This catastrophe of magnitude 7 Mw occurred on 12 January 2019. It was followed by around 50 smaller earthquakes – called aftershocks – of magnitude 4.5 Mw during the same month. More than 300,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of this natural disaster. Moreover, the damage to the infrastructure and the territory in general made it hard for the survivors to recover from this catastrophe.