Disaster Facts

15 Facts about Disasters You Didn’t Know

Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. They can be natural disasters or created by man. This can also bring out the best of human nature and show the worst side of mankind. These 15 facts about disasters are shocking and demonstrate that anyone can be affected.

1. Every year over 25.8 million people are affected by a natural disaster across the world.

2. Avalanches travel at speeds of over 200 miles per hour. In 1962 in Peru, several tons of ice and snow slid down Huascaran Peak in the Andes Mountains and killed over 4000 people.

3. The state that has the largest risk for tsunamis is Hawaii with over one a year.

4. On December 26, 2004 a tsunami triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused the most devastating tsunami in history killing over 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and the Maldives. In addition, millions of others were displaced.

5. The “Dust Bowl” of 1934 created a period of famine and drought in the United States in the 1934 Great Plains as land that had once been fertile was covered with huge clouds of dust lifted by heavy winds.

6. 1959 to 1961 was a period of famine for China. This was brought about by crop failure and lead to starvation, disease and cannibalism. However these disaster facts were not revealed to the world until 1981 by the Chinese government.

7. In 1099 a flood caused by a combination of storm waves and high tides washed across the coastal areas of the Netherlands and England killing over 100,000 people.

8. Floods are the number one deadly disaster in the United States accounting for over 46 percent of disaster related deaths according to disaster facts.

9. In 1815 in Tambora, Indonesia the Mount Tambora volcano exploded resulting in the deaths of 92,000 people, mostly due to starvation.

10. Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are the same thing. Different names are used in different parts of the world. In the Atlantic Ocean they are known as hurricanes, in the tropics they are known as tropical cyclones, in the Indian Ocean they are known as cyclones and in the Pacific Ocean they are known as typhoons.

11. The deadliest Western Hemisphere hurricane on record was in Barbados, West Indies in 1780. It killed nearly 22,000 people and completely devastated Barbados, Martinique and St. Eustatius.

12. Earthquakes are not generally killers according to disaster facts. The events afterwards are the cause of death including buildings collapsing, tsunamis and volcanoes.

13. Up to 10,000 people die a year as a result of an earthquake.

14. Nearly 90 percent of all volcanoes are in the “Ring of Fire,” a group of volcanoes that circle the Pacific Ocean.

15. Hurricanes have winds of at least 74 miles per hour.

A disaster can devastate a community and the after affects can lead to drought, famine and disease. The understanding the facts about disasters can help to make sense of what is occurring.