By Brian Duff
Either by accident or by the whim of Mother Nature, human history is filled with natural disasters. However, within the history of disasters, there are some that stand out as the world’s deadliest disasters.
On January 10, 2010, a severe 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti. Its epicenter was 25 miles west of the capital Port-Au-Prince. Following the initial earthquake, 59 aftershocks were eventually recorded. The quakes led to more than 150,000 deaths and destroyed over 250,000 homes and 30,000 businesses.
Tenerife North Airport Airplane Collision
The deadliest aviation accident that ever happened occurred at Tenerife North Airport, in the Canary Islands. On March 27, 1977, a bomb detonated at Gran Canaria Airport. There was suspicion that a second device had yet to explode. Because of the possibility of a second bomb, authorities rerouted a number of Gran Canaria bound aircraft to Tenerife North Airport.
Unfortunately, Tenerife North Airport was not designed to handle so many planes. Because of limited space and a large number of planes, many aircraft parked on and blocked taxi ways. This forced planes to both taxi and takeoff on the airport’s only runway, a problem compounded by dense fog. This problem resulted in tragedy when two Boeing 747s, travelling towards one another collided, killing 583 passengers.
The first Indian Ocean cyclone of 2008 was Cyclone Nargis. After forming, it made landfall in Myanmar on May 2, 2008. As Nargis came ashore, its storm surge pushed 25 miles up the Irrawaddy delta, flooding the region. This flooding ravaged the areas towns and population, killing over 135,000 and causing $10 billion in damages.
The Black Death
You have probably already read about it in your history books; however, you may not know the specifics. This Black Death was a pandemic that swept across Europe in the mid-1300s, lasting seven years. It is estimated to have killed up to 200 million people, reducing Europe’s population by upwards of 60%. Another way to think about the Black Death is to do so in a modern context. In modern terms, 194 million people would lose their lives if the Black Death were to happen today. Yeah, almost 200 million people would die.
Mount Pelée Volcano Eruption
The Mount Pelée eruption is the greatest volcano disaster of the 20th century. The volcano, located in the Caribbean on the island of Martinique, erupted on May 8, 1902. The eruption killed 30,000 people and completely destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre.
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake occurred off the coast of Indonesia. The earthquake measured over 9 on the Richter scale and triggered massive tsunamis. The tsunamis traveled through the Indian ocean and eventually devastated 14 countries. Of the nearly 230,000 dead, over 130,000 occurred in Indonesia alone. The death toll caused this earthquake to be one of the 10 deadliest, and the tsunami to be the deadliest in world history.
Human history is full of examples of natural and human-initiated disasters. In spite of our best efforts, predicting disasters with any certainty is a thing of science fiction. Disasters usually strike with little to no warning, unleashing devastating consequences. So, while people try to predict them, the safest bet for overcoming their tragic effects is to prepare now. By preparing in advance, you are giving you and your family the best opportunity to survive where they may have otherwise perished. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Do you want to be the victim or the survivor?
Lastly, never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other information, suggestions, or thoughts about the world’s deadliest disasters, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared.