At a time when we are in the midst of a global crisis because of Covid-19, I would like to take a look back at some of the greatest tragedies that have marked the planet.
I’m going to tell you about some of the worst tragedies the world has ever seen in any category.
May 31, 1970 was disastrous for the Peruvians. An earthquake with an intensity of 7.75 on the Richter scale hit northern Peru. It lasted 54 seconds. The consequences were enormous: 66,800 dead and more than 25,000 missing. The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Huascarán that carried rocks, ice and snow. Two cities were completely buried.
Two years later, in February 1972, Iran suffered a series of snowstorms that killed more than 4,000 people. 200 villages were also wiped off the map.
Everyone remembers the heat wave of 2003 that hit Europe. An unprecedented disaster in view of the 70 000 deaths it caused.
In November 1970, a clyclone hit Bangladesh and part of India. It was one of the deadliest in history, reaching the 500,000 mark. It was named Bhola because it was on this island that it caused the most damage.
In the midst of a pandemic, let us remember that the most terrible was smallpox, which killed 300,000,000 people. It is a highly contagious viral-like infectious disease. It was totally eradicated in 1980.
We go back in time and leave in 1883 when on August 27th Krakatoa erupted. More than 120,000 victims were killed by the shock wave, debris and ashes, as well as by the tsunamis caused by the explosion.
Moreover we will remain in the eruption category with the explosion of Lake Nyos in Cameroon in 1986. That tragedy killed 2,000 people. It was the explosion of a cloud of carbon dioxide in the lake that caused it.
Between 1958 and 1961, China experienced a famine that killed nearly 30,000,000 people. A subject that is still very sensitive. The cause was the government of the day.
We go even further back in time with the explosion of the Palace of the Grand Masters in 1856 in Rhodes, Greece. It killed 4,000 people. The palace was restored in 1937 and now houses the city’s Byzantine museum.
In 1871, a fire broke out in Chicago, killing nearly 1850 people and destroying parts of the city centre. The origin of this fire has two hypotheses. The fire would have started in a small shed or it would be a meteor shower…
We go back to China with floods in 1931. It is one of the deadliest with nearly 150,000 victims. The cause was the exceptional flooding of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers as well as the Huai He River.
Still in China on January 23rd, 1556, one of the most violent earthquakes with a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale occurred. It caused the death of more than 830,000 people.
In December 1999, Venezuela was the scene of a natural disaster on an exceptional scale. The death toll was 15,100. Due to torrential rains, the Venezuelan coast was hit by floods and landslides.
Ten years earlier, in 1989, Bangladesh was hit by the Daulatpur-Saturia tornado. It caused a lot of damage and 1300 people died.
Finally, let’s look back at the December 26, 2004 earthquake in the Indian Ocean. It caused a tsunami that hit Indonesia, the coasts of Sri Lanka, southern India and western Thailand. The death toll is heavy, with 250,000 people missing and nearly 185,000 confirmed dead.
To conclude this article and as I recall we are in the middle of it with Covid-19, there was also the black plague which affected more than 250,000,000 people worldwide between the 11th and 17th centuries.