25 Worst Natural Disasters Ever Recorded

Posted by , Updated on May 19, 2017

The world’s worst natural disasters have claimed many lives and have caused millions in property damage. While there are many criteria as to what would be considered the “worst” of these disasters; the earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis on this natural disasters list are all horrific in their own right. These are the 25 worst natural disasters ever recorded.

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Haiyuan Earthquake (1920)


Also known as the 1920 Gansu Earthquake, this is the 4th worst earthquake ever recorded next to the Antioch Earthquake in the year 526. With a death toll of 240,000, this quake occurred in December 16, 1920 with its epicenter in Haiyuan County, in the Ningxia Province of China.


Antioch Earthquake (526)

Antioch Earthquake

The third worst earthquake disaster in the world happened in the year 526 and may have probably struck late in May between the 20th and 29th as there is no specific date on record. This major earthquake hit Syria and Antioch with a death toll between 250,000 to 300,000.


Bhola Cyclone (1970)


Reaching wind speeds of 185 km/h, the Bhola Cyclone in Bangladesh led to over US $490 million in damages, destroying 85% of the homes in the region. It also fetched storm surges that wiped out entire villages, killing 45% of the population in Tazumuddin. Nearly 500,000 perished during the cyclone.


New Zealand Earthquake (2011)

New Zealand Earthquake

Also known as the Christchurch earthquake, this magnitude 6.3 quake occurred on February 22, 2011 and severely damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city. It also killed 185 people, 238 were reported missing, and 164 patients were treated for injuries. One of the nation’s deadliest peacetime disasters, this caused significant damage to Christchurch and the central Canterbury region with an estimated US $16 billion worth of damages incurred, though it was of lesser strength than the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit Canterbury six earlier in September 4, 2010.


Afghanistan Blizzard (2008)

The second worst blizzard in modern history after the Iran blizzard with regards to casualties, it had an estimated death toll of 1,337 due to temperatures that fell below -30°C with up to 180 centimeters of snow in the mountainous regions. Some were frozen to death, a number died when their vehicles were blocked by snowdrifts and at least 100 people underwent frostbite amputations in hospitals across the country. It also claimed more than 100,000 sheep and goats and 315,000 cattle.

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