Top 5 Natural Disasters That Rocked The World In 2011

Posted on December 28, 2011 in Specials

By Srishti Jaju:

Apparently 2011 is being marked as the penultimate  year of our lives. 2011 started with a very bad note with around 5 earthquakes, a flood, and shift of Earth’s magnetic north pole in the very 1st week of the year, which affected not only the human beings but also killed fishes as well as birds in various countries of the world. Apart from the natural disasters 2011 has also seen the worst ups and downs   in the world economy and has witnessed around 30 deaths of the great personalities around the globe.

Let’s have a look at the expensive natural disasters both in terms of casualties and money.

1. Japan: Earthquake and tsunami

Cost: $235 billion (by the World Bank)

So far, 8,649 people have been confirmed dead and another 13,262 are missing since the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast near Sendai, Japan, on March 11, 2011. The degree of damage caused by the earthquake and resulting tsunami was enormous. Videos show that almost no parts of any structures were left standing in the worst affected areas.

Failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant intensified the situation, resulting in evacuation of about 200,000 people residing around the plant.

The World Bank on March 21 said that damage might reach $235 billion, while Japan’s government had a higher estimate of $309 billion. The damage estimate could go even higher as it does not include losses in economic activity from planned power outages or the broader impact of the nuclear crisis, making the disaster world’s most expensive on record.

2. Rio de Janeiro: floods and mudslides

Cost: $1.2 billion

A series of floods and mudslides took place in January 2011 in several towns of the Mountainous Region (RegiãoSerrana), in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro. Casualties occurred in the cities of Nova Friburgo, Teresópolis, Petrópolis, Sumidouro and São José do Vale do Rio Preto. The floods caused at least 903 deaths. While local media claims that the combination of floods, mudslides and landslides in Rio de Janeiro became the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian history, some contend that a similar weather-related tragedy that took place in the same state in 1967 was much deadlier, and that an estimated 1,700 people lost their lives on the occasion.

3. Chile: Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption

COST: disruptions to airlines at $21 million for Qantas and $11 million for Virgin Australia.

The 2011 Puyehue-CordónCaulle eruption is a volcanic eruption that began in the Puyehue-CordónCaulle volcanic complex in Chile on June 4, 2011.The eruption from the Cordon Caullefissure.At least 3,500 people were evacuated from nearby areas,while the ash cloud was blown across cities all around the Southern hemisphere, including Bariloche, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Stanley, Porto Alegre, Cape Town, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland, forcing airlines to cancel hundreds of international and domestic flights and causing travel chaos.

By 18 June the ash cloud had completed its first circle of the globe. An estimated one hundred million tons of ash, sand and pumice were ejected – requiring power equivalent to 70 atomic bombs.

4. Texas: Wildfires

The 2011 Texas wildfires are an on-going series of destructive wildfires in Texas, United States that have occurred in the 2011 fire season. Statistics on the fires have been recorded since the current fire season began November 15, 2010.From the beginning of the fire season to October 31, around 27,976 fires had burned 3,959,040 acres (about double the previous record), 2,862 homes,1,939 of which were destroyed over the Labor Day weekend, and over 2,700 other structures.47.3% of all acreage burned in the United States in 2011 was burned in Texas. The fires have been particularly severe due to the on-going 2011 Southern US drought covering the state, and exacerbating the problem is rapid desertification, the unusual convergence of strong winds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and low humidity.

5. World wide: Tornadoes

Cost: Damages (USA) $20-25 billion (Estimate as of July 1)

Extremely destructive tornadoes form most frequently in the U.S., Bangladesh and Eastern India, but they can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Tornadoes also appear regularly in neighbouring southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season, and somewhat regularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.As of December 9 2011, there have been 1,836 tornadoes reported in the US in 2011. This has been an exceptionally destructive and deadly year for tornadoes; worldwide, at least 576 people perished due to tornadoes.

Time span: January 2011 — ongoing

Maximum rated tornado: EF5 tornado Philadelphia; Mississippi on April 27; Hackle burg, Alabama on April 27; Smithville, Mississippi on April 27; Rainsville, Alabama on April 27; Joplin, Missouri on May 22; Piedmont, Oklahoma on May 24

Fatalities (USA): 552 fatalities (>5,370 injuries)

(worldwide): 576