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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East Africa Drought (2011)

2011 East Africa drought

The worst drought in 60 years, the Horn of Africa experienced a severe drought since mid-July of 2011 with an estimated 12.4 million people in need of food. It resulted in a food crisis across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti, threatened the livelihood of more than 9.5 million people, and caused widespread death and famine.


North Korean Famine (1994)

North Korean Famine

Recognized as the “Arduous March”, this famine devastated North Korea from 1994 to 1998 and had an estimated death toll of between 240,000 and 3,500,000 due to starvation and hunger-related illnesses. Out of its 24 million people, 5 million are malnourished including 800,000 children with 80,000 on the brink of starvation. Everyone felt the impact of the famine, but those who are further from the capital suffered greater. Food assistance was given by the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and other European Union countries, which continued until 2002 when the North Korean government requested to stop the deliveries of these food supplies.


European Heat Wave (2003)

2003 European Heat Wave

Europe is not too used to scorching hot summers so when the 2003 European heat wave struck, it resulted in a health crisis in several countries as well as a drought which led to crop shortage, especially in Ukraine where 75% of wheat crops were lost. The hottest since 1540, at least 14,802 casualties recorded in France alone with victims coming from old people in nursing homes, or single family homes with no air-conditioning systems. The extreme temperatures also dried up most of Europe, which resulted in forest fires and counterintuitively, even flooding.


Yangtze River Floods (1931)

Yangtze River Flood

When torrential rains hit southern China in August 1931, it caused the Yangtze River to flood killing nearly 3.7 million people. This was considered the worst natural disaster of the 20th century.


Mozambique Flood (2000)

Mozambique Flood

Occurring between the months of February and March in 2000 the catastrophic flooding was caused by torrential rainfall that lasted for 5 weeks. It made many people homeless as it affected 1,400 sq km of arable land, killing 800 people and 20,000 cattle.

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