It’s almost strange to imagine what life has been like for the last year and a half since COVID-19 is part of collective history and most of the world has access to vaccines. But now that the epidemic is practically over and dealt with, we can look back at some of the other tragedies of the past and realize that it doesn’t always have to be a virus that can cause a depression.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst natural disasters we’ve ever experienced. If nothing else, it will prove that humanity can indeed overcome all adversity. At least until now.
Yellow river floods
The flood occurred in September 1887 and claimed the lives of at least 900,000 Chinese citizens, with the highest estimates going as high as 2 million. It was estimated that the flood covered an area of no less than 130,000 square kilometers, one-third of Germany.
Cyclones don’t usually kill a lot of people, but this one in 1970 in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) killed half a million people. It reached peak winds of 185 km/h and killed half (45%) of the population in the worst-hit city.
I’ll give you a little spoiler – this won’t be the last time China appears on this list. An estimated 4 million people died in the 1931 Chinese flood, but the lower figure appears to be half a million, or 140,000. The actual number is difficult to determine as the floods occurred over a three-month period. Whether the flood caused the death or not is difficult to ascertain.
Most of us may remember that this earthquake occurred in 2010. It claimed 316,000 lives. The country has not fully recovered from what happened a decade ago. Most of the deaths were tragically due to poor housing conditions related to a history of poverty and national debt.
Hey, here comes China again! This earthquake dates back to 1556, so the numbers are a bit rough, but it is said to have cost 830,000 lives. According to Imperial records, the destruction affected a width of 840 kilometers.
Another old one – it happened in 1839. Cyclone Koringa hit large parts of Southeast India and killed more than 300,000 people. The cyclone was named after the port city of Coringa, which was hit hardest. After the disaster, the city was not rebuilt.
The Tangshan earthquake
What? China again? Yes sir (or madam), this 1976 disaster claimed the lives of 655 000 innocent souls. It is now clear that the forces of nature have been severely affected in Asia and especially in China. The most reliable numbers for this earthquake are 242 000 casualties, which is still very high by any standard.