Most weather disasters are can neither be foreseen nor prevented. The world has seen the worst weather disturbances. We’re praying that no more disasters will beat the ten worst on record:
10. The 1935 Yangtze River Flood – China
Estimated fatalities: 145,000
The Yangtze River floods almost periodically that the Chinese have learned to brace themselves for such a weather disaster. Yangtze flooded in 1931, 1935, 1954, and 1998. Amongst these instances, the Yangtze River flood if 1935 is the worst in history. With over 145,000 people dead, it claimed the lives of families living alongside the riverbank, including children.
9. The 1881 Haiphong Typhoon – Vietnam
Estimated fatalities: 150,000
With a confirmed fatality count of 150,000 and with the same number of injured and missing, this tropical cyclone is the strongest one to hit both Vietnam and the Philippines. The typhoon passed the Gulf of Tonkin and devastated the Philippines before it raged onto to Vietnam. The typhoon primarily struck the city of Haiphong, thus its name. This tropical cyclone is among the deadliest weather disturbance in the history of the world.
8. The 1876 Great Backerganj Cyclone – Bangladesh
Estimated fatalities: 200,000
On that fateful day of October 30, 1876, a very strong cyclone hit Bangladesh, claiming the lives of more than 200,000 people. The storm hit the coast of Backerganj n Barisal, Bangladesh. Children and adults were mostly killed by the enormous storm surge that comes naturally with such a weather disturbance. The height of the surge reached a staggering 44.6 ft. The storm, on the other hand, registered the maximum wind strength of 140 mph. The storm raged on for four days. It also caused a massive famine in the land, which took the lives of even more people.
7. The 1975 Super Typhoon Nina – China
Estimated fatalities: 229,000
Typhoon Nina, which hit both China and the Philippines, is a Category 4 tropical storm, according to the Simpson scale. The number of fatalities rose to 229,000 because it destroyed big and small dams along the way. It particularly caused the collapse of the Banqiao Dam, effectively washing away the home of thousands of families living within the vicinity. The typhoon formed on July 30, 1975, and it dissipated seven days after. Its maximum sustained winds reached 250 kph or 155 mph. It created around $1.2 billion worth of damages.
6. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
Estimated fatalities: 280,000
This tsunami was felt by different nations across the Indian Ocean. Some of the countries largely affected were Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. It also displaced a lot of families living in the shores of Maldives, Myanmar, Somalia, and Malaysia, among others. The tsunami strike Indonesia on December 26, 2004, a day after Christmas. It has a height of 100 feet and a depth of 19 miles. This is one of the worst weather disturbances in modern history.
5. The 1737 Calcutta Cyclone – India
Estimated fatalities: 300,000
The tropical cyclone that hit Calcutta has ruined many buildings and took a lot of lives. It also destroyed around 20,000 ships in the harbor. But it was the tidal surge that brought most fatalities. This extreme weather disturbance is just one of the many that India has experienced throughout history. India went on to experience more cyclones to the present day, including the 1979 Ceylon Cyclone where the same number of cattle perished. A much stronger storm also occurred in 1839, as fully described in the section below.
4. The 1839 Coringa Cyclone – India
Estimated fatalities: 300,000
A very strong tropical cyclone slammed Coringa, a small port city near the Godavari River in India on November 25, 1839. It was first struck by a storm in 1789, but it’s the 1839 storm surge that wiped out 300,000 people and 20,000 sea vessels. That surge caused by the cyclone was 40 feet high. Since then, the bustling city has never managed to rebuild itself again. This storm is the third worst weather disaster to hit the Bengal Bay area.
3. The 1970 Bhola Cyclone – Bangladesh
Estimated fatalities: 375,000
This disastrous storm that struck West Bengal has left 375,000 people dead on that fateful day of November 12. The storm surge wiped out most of the villages in the islands of Ganges Delta. Landslides also occurred. The storm pestered the area for 10 days at maximum sustained winds of 115 mph before finally breaking up. The cyclone also left enormous property damage worth $86.4 million. India and Pakistan were also affected by this calamity. To help the survivors and other victims of the storm, George Harrison of The Beatles and Bengali artist Ravi Shankar organized a concert called “The Concert for Bangladesh.”
2. The 1887 Yellow River (Huang He) Flood – China
Estimated fatalities: 900,000
The famed Yellow River of China suffered massive flooding in September 1887 that killed 900,000 people. This is indeed one of the worst weather-related disturbances to occur in the region. The river, which was contained by dikes, have broken through and flooded the nation after many days of heavy rains. The areas most affected are Huayuankou and Zhengzhou, which are both nestled in the Henan province. The flood covered the low-lying plains and agricultural areas spanning 50,000 square miles. The flood left almost 2 million people homeless. It also caused a widespread pandemic, which eventually lead to more casualties. Unfortunately, this isn’t the worst flooding of China. A much severe one happened in 1931.
1. The 1931 China Floods
Estimated fatalities: 1,000,000
The deadliest weather disaster of all is the 1931 China floods. The flooding occurred in the three major rivers of China, such as the Yellow River, Yangtze River, and Huai River. The abnormal weather conditions over China from 1928 to 1930 somehow triggered the flooding. The long drought of the period was followed by heavy snowstorms, spring thaw, and strong rains. The result was a significant increase in the level of the river. By 1931, an extreme cyclone activity occurred that eventually caused China’s main rivers to overflow. The flood damage had affected around 2.8 million people, a million of which died. This incident remained to be the worst and the deadliest weather disaster of the world.