Reports from various Geophysical Data Centers have claimed that the number of people who die in natural disasters like earthquakes is much lower today than it was in recent decades. Does it mean that the world is becoming more resilient? Well, even the few lives being taken away by the earthquake in this decade are still a significant loss to the affected families. If we can prevent this natural disaster from killing one person, it is worth the time and effort.
The most recent earthquakes in the world were in 2004 and 2010 and had registered a very high mark in the annual death tolls of the world. They accounted for 93% and 69% of the annual deaths in the world, respectively. The statistics cause a cry of alarm, right? In this piece of content, we scrutinize the world’s most fatal earthquakes in history after which, we shall see the ways to escape the dangers of a trembling that may occur anytime in your vicinity. Take a look!
List of the 10 deadliest Earthquakes Ever in Human History:
10. Shensi Earthquake in China
A severe earthquake attacked the Shaanxi province, formerly known as Shensi, in China on the 23rd of January, 1556. The earthquake’s magnitude was eight. In the world’s history, it is the deadliest natural disaster. It also had severe damage to residents and neighboring towns. Geographical reports stat that fissures from the ground, uplift, and sinking, landslides, and liquefaction are what caused the natural disaster.
The earthquake claimed the lives of about 830,000 lives. From this disaster, more than 100,000 casualties got injured, and thousands of families displaced from their homes. The severe damage extended to more than 270 miles on the northeastern side of the epicenter, with reports claiming that the loss had gone to as far as Liuyang, which is about 500 miles away. Additionally, the few survivors in the province and other neighboring towns re-counted that all the houses and city walls collapsed, and ground fissures with water spurting out seen.
9. Tangshan Earthquake in China
It is China again, and this time, the damage extended to as far as Beijing. The earthquake occurred on 27th June 1976 and had a magnitude of 7.5. It is doubtless that it registered as the second greatest earthquake in global history and the highest earthquake death toll in the last four centuries. The interaction of the Eurasian tectonic plate and the American tectonic plate caused the Tangshan quake was due to the tectonic forces. The Tangshan fault that was 25 miles resulted in a 75-mile split underground running both south-southwest and north-northeast of the city.
As sad as this may sound, China and its neighbors underwent another significant loss with a casualty figure of 255,000 deaths and a likely death toll of 655,000. The risks of the earthquake risks had earlier been underestimated, and almost every structure and building in the province were without seismic consideration. Out of these buildings, 85% collapsed; the city became an open field.
8. Aleppo Earthquake in Syria
On 9th August 1138, Aleppo in Syria was hit by a great earthquake whose magnitude is still unknown. It is among the first quakes occurring between 1138 and 139 and devastating the northern areas of Syria and the western sides of Turkey. According to contemporary accounts, there was a crumbling of the second-largest city in Syria which resulted in rocks tumbling into the streets. The citadel of Aleppo collapsed, and the earthquake claimed the precious lives of 230,000 people.
Even though Aleppo was the community that had the most extensive damage, the neighboring towns were also victims. The European Crusaders had also built a massive citadel near Harim, and this fortress was evened out by the quake. A Muslim fortress based at Al-Atarib got destroyed and very many other forts and smaller towns brought to rubble. Damascus was affected because the tremor went as far as 220 miles away to the south of Syria.
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7. Sumatra Earthquake in Indonesia
Sumatra in Indonesia faced a heart aching earthquake of a possible 9.1 magnitude on the 26th December 2004. It was the world’s third-largest seismic activity since 1900 and also the most massive quake since the Prince William Sound earthquake in Alaska that had occurred in 1964. A total of 227,898 people died, thousands went missing but later found dead, and an average of 1.7 million families displaced on the occurrence of the fatal earthquake.
The earthquake also resulted in tsunamis in 14 different countries in East Africa and South Asia. As of January 2005, the death toll from the quake was about 286,000 and by April 2005, the number of missing persons had reduced by over 50,000. The earthquake occurred alongside tectonic zones where the India plate subducted underneath the Burma microplate.
6. The Haiti Earthquake
This quake occurred on 12th January 2010. It had a magnitude of 7.0. The earthquake transpired at a fault line running right through Haiti and along the border between the North American plates and the Caribbean plates. These two plates are rocky slabs covering the planet. Official estimates claim that 222,570 people lost their lives, 300,000 were injured, 1.3 million displaced from their homes, 97,294 buildings and houses destroyed and 188,383 people in the Port-au-Prince area and southern Haiti wounded. Also, at least four people died when a tsunami that resulted from the earthquake that occurs in the Petit Paradis area adjacent to Leogane. Tsunami waves can be spotted at Les Cayes, Jacmel, Leogane, Petit Goave, Anse a Galets, and Luly, as reported by national news.
5. The Damghan Earthquake in Iran
On 22nd December 856, Damghan experienced a deadly earthquake whose magnitude is still unknown. This seismic activity hit a possible 200-mile extension of the northeastern part of Iran, and the epicenter was right below the Damghan city, which was Iran’s capital city in those days. A big part of the town was beyond recognition, and the neighboring areas also suffered a loss of lives and property. An average of 200,000 people died.
According to Iran’s geographical results, such an earthquake is to happen again after 3,700 years after the 856 one. So far, there are no reported large earthquakes in the Damghan area. However, more studies should be done to investigate whether the entire stretch of the fault involved in the splitting event or if shorter sections may be accountable for smaller earthquakes in later years.
4. Haiyuan, Ningxia Earthquake in China
on the 16th of December 1920. It had an earthquake magnitude of 7.8 and brought complete ruin to the Lijunbu, Haiyuan, and Ganyanchi areas. More than 73,000 people lost their lives in Haiyuan County. The earthquake occurred when the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate met head-on.
The quake led to the occurrence of a landslide that ended burying the settlement of Sujiahe that was in Xiji County. Guyuan County also had a loss of more than 30,000 people, and 98% of the total houses in the cities of Huining and Longde cities collapsed. A surface faulting of approximately 125 miles noticed from Lijunbu. There were very many large ground cracks and landslides throughout the epicenter. The havoc was so great that some rivers became dammed and others changed their original course.
3. Ardabil Earthquake in Iran
The magnitude of the Ardabil Earthquake that occurred on 23rd March, 893 in Iran, is still unknown. No sooner had the memories of the massive 856 Damghan earthquake faded than this tragic disaster knocked again some 37 years later. The area is prone to earthquakes. In 893, 150,000 people died, and the largest city in the northwestern part of the country ruined. The region again knocked out by a severe quake in 1997.
2. Kanto Earthquake in Japan
The Kanto quake in Japan occurred on 1st September 1923. It had a magnitude of 7.9 and was extremely destructive in the Tokyo-Yokohama region, which suffered from subsequent temblors and firestorms. It was by a split of the convergent boundary where Philippine Sea Plate subducts below Okhotsk Plate.
Destroyed an average of 142,800 people died, about 381,000 buried and over 694,000 buildings, including houses. It is well known as Tokyo’s Greatest Earthquake or Tokyo’s Greatest Fire but severe damage was in Yokohama. The shores of the Sagami Bay observed from a permanent uplift of up to 6 feet and horizontal shifts of around 15 feet measured on the Boso Peninsula.
1. Ashgabat Earthquake in Turkmenistan
This one occurred on 5th October 1948 and had caused by the occurrence of a reverse fault. It had a magnitude of 7.3 and, therefore, result in a significant loss in Ashgabat and all the nearby villages where the buildings’ bricks collapsed. Concrete constructions severely impaired, and cargo trains wrecked. Huge damages and fatalities also occurred in the Darreh Gaz region. Sources listed a total of 10,000 casualties but a news proclamation later on advised that the right death toll was averagely 110,000. The surface rupture observed from the southeast and northwest parts of Ashgabat.
Tips to Escape an Earthquake Zone:
Before the quake
- Make your home safe – if it is an old building, confirm whether it meets the local building codes. Go around the house and remove anything that can break or fall off of the ground begins to wobble.
- Make an emergency kit and include water, food, and other essentials. Let the kit be light and easily portable so that it won’t be a hindrance when you are moving.
- Listen to the local instructions and keenly follow all the instructions given concerning being ready
When the Shaking Begins
it is a critical time, and you need to be careful. Be calm and ensure your family members are well sheltered. Always remember these steps, drop, cover and hold, just as explained below:
- Drop – Do down with your knees and hands to protect yourself from getting knockdown. When you are down on the ground, you will be in a better position to crawl and seek for the appropriate and safe shelter.
- Cover – Place your arms over your neck and head to protect them from falling and incoming debris. Head for tables to seek shelter until the shaking comes to an end. If the table is not near, slowly move to the interior walls of your home. Hide from any furniture and tall objects that may topple.
- Hold – Hold on to your hiding place until the trembling stops. If your shelter is under a table, continue holding onto it with your hands. If you are outside, continue shielding your neck and head with your arms.
After shaking subsides
Even though the ground is still, the risk is not over. When the earth settles, it may produce some smaller tremors or aftershocks, and on some occasions, another quake, more significant than the first one, may occur. To protect yourself from this:
- Check for any possible injuries in your body. During the rush of an earthquake Sometimes you may be hurt, but because of panic, you will not feel the pain. In case there are injuries, use your first aid kit for nursing and preventing further bleeding or deep cuts.
- Check the electric lines and gas lines. If you can, turn them off for more safety
- If you are in a building that has substantial damages, get out of the structure, and also help your family members to come out of the building safely. Do this as soon as possible so that in case the building has become very weak, it does not fall on you and cause the death of your loved ones.
- Remain calm and do not panic. Too much panic makes you not to think wisely
- Protect your nose, eyes, and mouth from the dust
- Text or call for help
- shouting or whistling to get attention
- If you are outside looking for dangers like rupture gas pipes, fallen electrical lines, or hazardous structures.