The top 10 natural disasters by death toll, 2000-2010

Timeline created by kirstentellam
  • #7: Bam (Iran) Earthquake

    #7: Bam (Iran) Earthquake
    26,271 people were killed when the city of Bam, Iran was flattened by a 2003 earthquake. The earthquake’s magnitude was 6.6 and 80 percent of the area’s buildings were damaged or destroyed, likely because Iran lacks an earthquake education program and most of the buildings were made of mud brick. Because the quake occurred in the early hours of the morning, many people were crushed as they slept. The estimated cost of reconstruction was $1 billion. Photo Credit.
  • #1: Asian Earthquake and Tsunami

    #1: Asian Earthquake and Tsunami
    In December 2003, a 9.3 magnitude earthquake hit the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake triggered a tsunami and the resulting deaths are estimated at 230,000 people. The bulk of the devastation occurred in Indonesia. Because there were no tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean at that time, many people were caught unaware despite the lag time between the earthquake and the tsunami. This resulted in the disaster’s high death toll. Photo Credit.
  • #10: Hurricane Katrina

    #10: Hurricane Katrina
    Hurricane Katrina is the largest natural disaster in America’s history. It cost over $100 billion in damages and killed a confirmed 1,836 people. Katrina became a Category 5 hurricane on August 28, 2005 in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm caused the most damage in New Orleans, Louisiana due to levee failure. Photo Credit.
  • #4: Kashmir (Pakistan) Earthquake

    #4: Kashmir (Pakistan) Earthquake
    A 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan in 2005, killing 74,500. Although the quake was on a Saturday, that is a normal school day for Pakistanis; many of the victims were children who were crushed under falling school buildings. Because many of the region’s roads were destroyed during the earthquake, relief attempts were severely hampered. More than 3 million people were rendered homeless in the quake. Photo Credit.
  • #3: Cyclone Nargis (Myanmar)

    #3: Cyclone Nargis (Myanmar)
    Approximately 140,000 people were killed in Burma (Myanmar) when the Cyclone Nargis touched land. The storm included winds of up to 120 mph which passed directly over the most populated areas of the region. 95 percent of buildings in the area were destroyed. Because Burma is ruled by a military junta, relief efforts were frequently suspended or even blocked by the government, helping raise the disaster’s death rate. Photo Credit.
  • #5: Sichuan (China) Earthquake

    #5: Sichuan (China) Earthquake
    68,712 people were confirmed dead (with another 17,921 missing but presumed dead) in a 2008 earthquake that crushed China’s Sichuan province. The quake measured 7.9 and was particularly devastating because of the region’s adobe buildings. Because the quake hit around noon, many of the quake’s victims were schoolchildren who became trapped in the rubble of poorly-constructed schoolhouses. Photo Credit.
  • #2: Haiti Earthquake

    #2: Haiti Earthquake
    A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, killing an estimated 230,000 people. The earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital and most populated region. Because Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the earthquake caused particular devastation to the unstable structures and weak infrastructures. As of July 2010, one in nine Haitians was still homeless and a small fraction of the debris had been cleared from the streets. Photo Credit.
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    #6: European Heat Wave

    At least 35,000 people died in the 2003 European heat wave that included the then-hottest August on record in the northern hemisphere. Because most of Western Europe experiences mild summer temperatures, many homes did not have air conditioning and many people were unaware of the precautions they should take during extreme weather. France suffered the worst, with more than 14,000 deaths alone. Breathing conditions were further inhibited by smog and smoke from forest fires.
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    #9: Global Swine Flu Outbreak

    2009’s outbreak of swine flu killed 11,690 people. The flu’s virus genes were a combination never before seen in humans or animals and appeared related to the swine-oriented H1N1 virus. It was later revealed the virus was not pig-circulated. Adults age 18-64 were hit hardest by the virus, perhaps because older people were previously exposed to the H1N1 virus in the 1970s. In October 2009, President Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency.
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    #8: Russian Heat Wave

    The summer of 2010 was the hottest since at least 1950 in Russia, killing an estimated 15,000 people. The death rates were exasperated by heavy smog, which was caused by smoke from nearby wildfires, and an increased rate of drowning as Russians tried to cool themselves off. There were 62 consecutive days with above-average temperatures; many of those days reached temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.