Top 10 World’s Worst Natural Disasters

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5. The Great Flood

Circa 5600 BCE the population of over 100 000 people around the coasts of the freshwater lake where Black Sea is now, was transformed into a saltwater sea. Scientists in 2011 made an unexpected discovery – deep in the sea they found tiny pieces of 9 thousands year old wood. It means that the round hill in the bottom of the sea (90 m under water) was once a dry land. While this hypothesis is widely criticised about whether the flood was sudden, this flood still drove apart a civilization, and yet it has been a catalyst that led to our modern civilisation.

4. San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

This earthquake lasted 1 minute only, but its damages made it as one of the worst natural disasters of all time alongside the Hurricane Katrina in the United States. San Franciscans never expected the earthquake to come and so the buildings weren’t designed to withstand the earthquake -they crumbled immediately. The earthquake ruptured the gas pipes, furthermore the untrained firefighters attempted to demolish buildings to create firebreaks by using dynamite and the black powder and that caused major fires in the city. The water supplies were also limited that made it even more difficult to fight the fires and the area of flames expanded undisturbedly. In 3 days the city was destroyed completely.

3. Lakagígar Volcano Eruption, 1783

The eruption began on 8 June, 1783 and continued until 7 February, 1784. Lava and toxic gases killed over 50% of Iceland’s livestock population and around 25% of human population. The observers of that time have reported that there was a constant fog all over Europe and Northern America; blood-coloured sun at rising and setting, yet it was blank as a cloudy moon at noon. The consequences of eruption affected as far as Egypt, India and Arabian Peninsula causing a poisoning from gases, famine, drought and the temperature drop.

2. Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, 2004

The earthquake was the longest ever observed (almost 10 minutes) and its magnitude 9.0 is the 3rd ever recorded on a seismograph. The tsunami took so many victims (230,000-280,000 dead and more missing) because there existed no warning systems in Indian Ocean, as the last tsunami was the one created by Krakatoa in 1883. Tsunamis are rare in this area. Indonesia was the worst affected area by following Sri-Lanka, India and Thailand and it hit as far as South Africa 8,000 km away from the epicentre.

1. Black Death, 14th century

Black Death is commonly believed to be caused by the bubonic plague and in Late Middle Ages it killed 30 to 60% of European population. The Black Death originated in China or Mongolia, it travelled along the Silk Road with Mongol armies. It was brought to Crimea in 1347 and then by the Genoese traders who carried the disease, it was spread further to the coasts of Italy and France. Soon it was spread to up North, to the West and East as far as Western Russia. The plague attacked various countries in the Middle East too. Medieval doctors at that time had just a little idea on how to treat the disease. Their given advices varied from the common sense to absurdities.

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