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10 Worst Natural Disasters in History

These are the deadliest, most brutal natural disasters in history. From earthquakes to tsunamis & hurricanes, you’d never believe these violent, destructive acts of nature.

Number 10: The 526 Antioch Earthquake
May, 526 AD: the Byzantine Empire—located in the present-day Mediterranean region—is hit hard by a deadly earthquake. An estimated 250,000 people died during this natural disaster.

Founded sometime during the 4th century BC, Antioch was a city located in a particularly precarious place. It was situated near a number of tectonic plates including the African Plate, the Arabian Plate, & the Anatolian Plate. The area has been the site of many powerful earthquakes over the past couple millennia. And on that fateful day in May 526 AD, thousands of visitors poured into the city for Ascension Day when it was rocked by an earthquake that would measure by today’s standards as a 7.0 on the surface wave magnitude scale.

Most of the houses & buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed in the immediate aftermath with fires burning for days. Antioch also experienced a series of aftershocks for more than a year following the quake. When all was said & done, at least a quarter of a million people were killed & the city’s great cathedral, Domus Aurea, was badly damaged. Although much of the city was rebuilt, earthquakes continued to damage the city. Yet none of them were as deadly as that in 526.

Number 9: The 1920 Haiyuan Earthquake
December 16th, 1920: a powerful earthquake in Haiyuan County, China & its surrounding area claims the lives of 273,400 people. Following the initial quake was a landslide that buried the entire village of Suijah, killing over 70,000 people in Haiyuan County.

The earthquake was felt in no less than seven provinces in China, ranging from the Yellow Sea to the Sichuan Province. The area was also terrorized by aftershocks for years after. As a result, people resisted building permanent buildings. Additionally, that same winter was especially harsh, causing even more people to die & further increasing the death toll.

Number 8: The Tri-State Tornado
March 18th, 1925: the deadliest tornado in American history strikes the midwestern U.S. The tornado in question was actually part of a tornado outbreak, wherein 12 tornados touched down in Illinois, Indiana, & Missouri, injuring over 2,000 people & causing an excess of $1.4 billion in damages in the process.

The largest tornado measured in was an F5 & killed 695 people. After making landfall in Missouri & claiming its first life in the town of Ellington, the twister then surged towards the small town of Cornwall, where it killed 11 more people. It then made it’s way across the Mississippi River into Illinois. It leveled every single structure in the town of Gorham, killing 34 others in the process. In De Soto, 69 people were killed as it ripped through their town. By the time it made its way through Illinois, over 600 people had been killed. The mammoth twister then continued its destructive path in Indiana, where it took over 70 more lives before it was finished.

In addition to the casualties & injuries, the tornado destroyed the homes of approximately 15,000 people & obliterated nine schools over a three-hour period.

Number 7: The 2010 Haiti Earthquake
January 12th, 2010: Haiti & the Dominican Republic experience a massive earthquake, killing an estimated 300,000. This is one of the poorest regions in the world & as such, was not sufficiently equipped for dealing with such disasters.

At least 32 aftershocks occurred within hours of the first earthquake, further damaging the already weakened structures. This included hospitals & large shelters that would’ve been helpful in responding to the emergency. Damage to the Toussaint Ouverture International Airport & the Port-au-Prince Seaport delayed essential emergency responders, who could not get onto the island. Because many people’s houses were destroyed, survivors resorted to sleeping in the streets, cars, or makeshift shelters during the nights following the disaster. To this day, the recovery effort is still ongoing, though progress has been slow.

Number 6: The 1970 Bhola Hurricane
November 12th, 1970: a series of hurricanes hammers the North Indian Ocean, the largest & most devastating of which was in Bangladesh & India’s West Bengal. More than 500,000 people were killed during this deadly storm.

As soon as the storm hit land, it destroyed entire villages & crops in what was then part of Pakistan (or present-day Bangladesh.) The majority of the area’s populace was either unaware or unprepared for the storm when it hit. As a result, it had one of the deadliest effects on the people despite not being the most powerful storm to afflict the region.

Tsunamis hit small coastal islands near East Pakistan, reportedly killing every single resident. Heavy rains also caused widespread

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“La historia es en realidad el registro de crímenes, locuras y adversidades de la humanidad” (E. Gibbon)