25 Hardest To Forget Disaster Photographs

Posted by , Updated on April 23, 2014

In the past 100 years the world has seen its share of disaster and with the advancement of photographic technology it has become progressively easier to document it. Some of the photos in this list were chosen because of their surreal nature while other were chosen due to their shock factor. Either way though, these are the 25 hardest to forget disaster photographs in recent history.

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25

Haiti Earthquake (2010)

Haiti Earthquake

Resulting in over 300,000 deaths and leaving over a tenth of Haiti’s population homeless, the country is still in shambles to this day.

24

Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Even to this day New Orleans hasn’t fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

23

The Great Kanto Earthquake (1923)

The Great Kanto Earthquake (1923)

In 1923 a devastating earthquake shook Japan. The photo you see here was the aftermath of a fire tornado decimating a refugee camp with almost 40,000 people.

22

Hungary Disaster (2010)

Hungary Disaster (2010)

After a reservoir exploded in Hungary in 2010 both animals and people were smothered and burned by the acidic and forceful blast.

21

Bhola Cyclone (1970)

Bhola Cyclone (1970)

The year 1970 was not nice to the countries of Bangladesh and India. With the Bhola cyclone enfulfing the two nations they experienced one of the worst natural disasters in history with over half a million casualties.


20

Mt. St. Helens Eruption (1980)

Mt. St. Helens Eruption (1980)

Spewing ash and gas over 15 miles into the atmosphere and blanketing more than 11 states with ash, vehicles over 10 miles from the blast were melted like candle sticks from the mindblowing heat.

19

Pakistan Floods (2010)

Pakistan Floods (2010)

When almost a fifth of Pakistan was flooded in 2010 thousands of people died due to an outbreak of diseases like malaria, cholera, and diarrhea.

18

The Great Smog (1952)

The Great Smog (1952)

As a result of some strange weather patterns almost all of London’s coal emissions were redirected right back down on the city. Because the city already has a good bit of gray fogginess to it no one noticed anything unusual until thousands of people had already died.

17

Queensland Floods (2010)

Queensland Floods (2010)

In 2010 nearly the entire Australian state of Queensland was declared a disaster zone after severe flood destroyed the region and caused massive evacuations.

16

East Coast Superstorm (1993)

East Coast Superstorm (1993)

Known as the Storm of the Century, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States was affected. Several hundred people died in snowstorms while dozens more were lost at sea and numerous houses crashed into the ocean up and down the coast.

15

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010)

Kalapana Lava Flows (2010)

Also known as the BP Oil Spill, it flowed unabated for three months into the Gulf of Mexico causing extensive damage to marine life and severely crippling the fishing and tourism industries.

14

Mecca Stampede (1990)

Mecca Stampede (1990)

In recent years Mecca has been the site of numerous deadly incidents resulting from uncontrollable stampedes.

13

Lake Nyos Outgassing (1986)

Lake Nyos Outgassing (1986)

After a deadly cloud of carbon dioxide gas covered the country of Cameroon in 1986 over 1,700 people lost their lives along with a number of animals and livestock. The cloud was emitted by Lake Nyos that sits atop a long dormant volcano. Apparently deadly gasses had built up in the lake crater over hundreds of years.

12

Guatemala Sinkhole (2007)

Guatemala Sinkhole (2007)

In 2007 about a dozen homes in downtown Guatemala City slid down into a sinkhole about 30 stories deep.

11

Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

The tsunami began in the Indian Ocean as a result of the 3rd largest earthquake on record and ended with over a quarter million people dead.

10

Sindh Floods (2011)

Sindh Floods (2011)

This particular part of pakistan was hit especially hard during the flooding. In fact you can see how, with no where to go, millions of spiders climbed up into the trees turning them into oversized cotton candy sticks.

9

Kalapana Lava Flows (2010)

Kalapana Lava Flows (2010)

Although this photo was taken in 2010, the lava has been flowing through Kalapana, Hawaii for roughly 30 years, destroying several villages in that time.

8

Mt. Pinatubo Eruption (1991)

Mt. Pinatubo Eruption (1991)

Although it looks like a scene straight from Hollywood this photo was taken by Albert Garcia during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Phillipines in 1991. The eruption was so bad that it decreased the temperature of the entire northern hemisphere for the next several years.

7

Bangor Fire Tornado (2008)

Bangor Fire Tornado (2008)

Near Bangor, United Kingdom in 2008 by photographer Simon Gray, this rare and destructive phenomenon is seldom captured on camera.

6

The Yellow River Floods (1931)

The Yellow River Floods (1931)

Probably the worst disaster in history in terms of lives lost, the Yellow River Floods of 1931 cost China nearly 4 millions lives.

5

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (1986)

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (1986)

Only 73 seconds into its flight the Challenger fell apart leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The reason for the disaster was determined to be a failed O ring seal in the right rocket booster.

4

Yellow River Flood (1938)

yellowriverflood

Only 7 years after the last floods, these were anything but natural. Often considered the largest act of environmental warfare in history, the Chinese government had several vital dikes destroyed in order to the flood the river deliberately and stop the advancing Japanese. Although the tactic was successful it came at the price of almost a million Chinese civilian lives.

3

The Titanic (1912)

The Titanic (1912)

Exactly 100 years ago the Titanic sank beneath the waves in the North Atlantic. The photo you see here was taken from aboard the Carpathia, one of the primary rescue vessels.

2

World Trade Center Attacks (2001)

World Trade Center Attacks (2001)

Few disasters in history have affected more lives than the 9/11 attacks and in this now famous photo you witness the body of Father Mychal Judge, beloved chaplain of the New York Fire Department being pulled from the rubble.

1

Armero Disaster (1985)

Armero Disaster (1985)

When the city of Armaro, Columbia was decimated by a nearby volcano eruption in 1985, tens of thousands were killed by flooding and debris. The most famous victim however was Omarya Sanchez. For three days rescue crews tried to free her from the debris but simply did not have the resources or ability to do so. All the rescuers could do was sit with her as she talked, sang, and prayed with them. She even said goodbye to her mother on international news as the world looked on helplessly. The photograph you see here drew international attention to a tragedy that could have been prevented with better planning from officials.

SEE ALSO: 25 of History's Deadliest Dictators »

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