Deadliest Natural Disasters of the Past 50 Years

Source: China Photos / Getty Images News via Getty Images

10. Sichuan earthquake
> Location: China
> Date: May 12, 2008
> Est. death toll: 87,652

The 7.9-magnitude Great Sichuan Earthquake, also known as the Wenchuan Earthquake, struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan with tremors felt as far away as Shanghai, more than 1,000 miles distant from the epicenter near the provincial capital of Chengdu. The quake induced massive landslides that toppled buildings and left millions of people homeless.

Source: Paula Bronstein / Getty Images News via Getty Images

9. Kashmir earthquake
> Location: Pakistan
> Date: Oct. 8, 2005
> Est. death toll: 88,000

The quake that struck northern Pakistan measured 7.6 on the magnitude scale, inflicting extensive damage in and around the regional capital of Muzaffarabad. Entire villages were leveled and an estimated 32,335 buildings collapsed across much of the country and into northern India, where thousands were killed or injured, and in parts of Afghanistan and Bangladesh. About four million people lost their homes in the quake.

Source: Vmenkov / Wikimedia Commons

8. Vietnam floods
> Location: Vietnam
> Date: Aug. 1971
> Est. death toll: 100,000

The Vietnamese capital of Hanoi had for centuries been protected by dikes and reservoirs to control seasonal flooding of the Red River Delta, a convergence of three major tributaries that have both threatened and nourished locals. But an unusually strong rainy season in 1971 came during the Vietnam War, which hampered the city’s ability to respond to the overloading of its flood control system. Though overshadowed by the war, this flooding was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vietnam.

Source: Uriel Sinai / Getty Images News via Getty Images

7. Cyclone Nargis
> Location: Myanmar
> Date: May 2008
> Est. death toll: 138,366

After forming into a massive category 4 storm over the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Nargis plowed into Myanmar (Burma) with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. The storm path took it right over the country’s heavily populated city of Yangon (Rangoon), which had been the capital of the country until 2006. Nargis caused extensive flooding in the city and nearby coastal plains.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. Cyclone Gorky
> Location: Bangladesh
> Date: April 1991
> Est. death toll: 139,000

Cyclone Gorky, a massive category 5 storm, made landfall in Bangladesh on the evening of April 29, bringing with it tidal surges as high as 30 feet. The storm hovered over the coastal lowlands for three to four hours, dumping a massive amount of rainfall on impoverished communities living at sea level. Later it was determined that cyclone shelters prevented 20% of the deaths than would have occurred without them – however there weren’t enough of these shelters to meet the demand.

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