What natural disasters happened in 2021?

Earthquake in Sulawesi: On Jan. 15, an M 6.2 earthquake struck the city of Majene on the west coast of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, killing more than 90 people and displacing 94,000.

Flood in Australia: Days of heavy rain pounded the Australian province of New South Wales at the end of March 2021, leading to a "once-in-a-hundred-year-flood".

Earthquake in Haiti: On Aug. 14, an M 7.2 earthquake, the biggest since 2010, struck Haiti. It killed more than 2000 people. At least 1,37.500 buildings were damaged or destroyed.

Volcanic eruption in Indonesia: Indonesia's Java Island experienced several days of heavy rain that left a heavy pool of water on the lava dome at the top of Mount Semeru. On Dec 4, the lava dome collapsed, unleashing the molten lava beneath in an explosive eruption that sent thousands of people fleeing the area.

Typhoon in the Philippines: Super Typhoon Rai made landfall on Siargao Island in southeastern Philippines on Dec. 16. It killed more than 400 people and caused half a billion dollars in damages.

U.S. Typhoon: About 68 out-of-season tornadoes ripped across several states in the United States on Dec. 10, and Dec. 11, leaving death and destruction in their wake. They killed more than 90 people across ten States. Officials estimated billions of dollars of damages.

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What happened on the 26th April 1986 Ukrainian city of Chernobyl to make it suddenly uninhabitable?

Ukraine recently commemorated the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, considered one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters. The disaster was the result of an explosion in the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power station, in the former USSR, which led to radiation poisoning across Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus and Russia. The exact number of victims remains a subject of intense debate because the Soviet authorities kept most of the information about the disaster hidden. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the area around the disaster site, and the exclusion zone has now become a ghostly uninhabited region.

Ukrainian authorities say the area may not be fit for humans for 24,000 years, but the site has been attracting tourists in the recent years and Ukraine wants to make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During the 35th year commemoration, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky unveiled a new nuclear waste repository at Chernobyl, where the country could store its nuclear waste for the next 100 years. On the occasion, Ukrainian government also released a document claiming that the Soviet Union (which Ukraine was then part of) knew the Chernobyl nuclear plant was dangerous and covered up emergencies there even before the 1986 disaster.

What happened on April 226, 1986?

The Chernobyl nuclear power station was situated at the settlement of Pripyat, north of Kiev in Ukraine. Built in the late 1970s on the banks of the Pripyat River, Chernobyl had four reactors, each capable of producing 1,000 megawatts of electric power.

On the night of April 25, 1986, the reactor crew at Reactor No. 4 of experiment, which was found to be poorly designed during investigation. A series of mistakes, including the disabling of automatic shutdown mechanisms, led to the nuclear chain reaction going out of control. Reactor No. 4 exploded and caught fire on April 26, 1986, shattering the building and spewing large amounts of radioactive material from the graphite reactor core into the atmosphere, which soon spread across Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and many parts of Europe. Firefighters and helicopters attempted to put out a series of blazes at the plant, but to no avail

What happened after the explosion?

The Soviet authorities made the catastrophe worse by withholding information from the public on what had happened, even though they began an evacuation of the 30,000 inhabitants of Pripyat on April 27, 1986. The world learned of the disaster only after heightened radiation was detected in Sweden on April 28. The Swedish radiation monitoring stations, more than 800 miles to the northwest of Chernobyl, reported radiation levels 40% higher than normal. After first denying any accident, the Soviet finally acknowledged the disaster on April 28. About 600,000 emergency workers and state employees who became known as “liquidators” were dispatched with little or no protective gear to help clean up the aftermath of the disaster. The details of the incident and the victim numbers were shrouded in secrecy.

Soon after the disaster, radioactive debris were buried at some 800 temporary sites, albeit at great risk to workers. Eventually, more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the vicinity and an exclusion zone was established around the station. The exclusion zone is a 30-kilometre radius area around the nuclear power plant that was evacuated in the aftermath of the explosion. It was deemed unsafe for humans to live in for thousands of years.

How many people died as an immediate result of the accident?

Thirty-one plant workers and firemen died in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, mostly from acute radiation sickness. Thousands more later succumbed to radiation-related illnesses such as cancer, although the total death toll and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense debate.

Why is it considered one of the worst disasters?

Between 50 and 185 million curies of radioactive material escaped into the atmosphere. It’s estimated that the amount of radioactive material was 400 times more than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

The radioactivity was spread over large parts of Europe, including Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Scandinavian countries, France and Italy.

The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation reported that more than 6,000 children and adolescents developed thyroid cancer after being exposed to radiation from the incident, although some experts have challenged that claim.

Scientists are still in the process of gauging the extent of the damage and starting to answer questions about the long-term legacy of radiation exposure on the power plant workers, the people in the nearby community, and even their family members born years later.

What is the status of this exclusion zone and the station?

  • No one is allowed to live in this exclusion zone. However, the Ukrainian government allows tourists and scientists to enter nearby areas and even the town of Pripyat for a limited period of time.
  • The highly radioactive reactor core was enclosed in a concrete-and-steel sarcophagus by the end of 1986. In November 2016, a massive metal dome was erected over the remains of the reactor to stop future leaks and ensure the safety of people for generations. Containment efforts and monitoring continue and cleanup is expected to last until at least 2065.
  • Regarding the other reactors of the station, Unit 2 was closed in 1991 after a fire and Unit 1 was shut down after 1996. Unit 3 of Chernobyl remained operational till 2000 when the power station was decommissioned.

What happened to the environment and animals after the accident?

Millions of acres of forest and farmland were contaminated, and in the subsequent years many livestock were born deformed. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, mutations occurred in plants and animals after the explosion. Leaves changed shape and some animals were born with physical deformities. However, some animals are now returning in large numbers to the area. These animals include beavers, moose, wolves and wild boar, plus a wide variety of birds.

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In 2011, which country was the worst hit by extreme drought that affected more than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa?

Somalia was worst hit by the extreme drought in 2011 that affected more than 13 million people across the Horn of Africa.

Tens of thousands of people fled their homes in search of food.

The UN declared the famine over in February 2012.

"While conditions in Somalia have improved in recent months, the country still has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition and infant mortality in the world," Ben Foot, from the charity Save the Children, said in a statement.

The UK government has said that at a conference it is hosting on Somalia's future next week it will set out policies on how to tackle the root cause of famine and contain the effects of drought.

The UK's International Development Secretary Justine Greening said Somalia's famine had been "one of the worst disasters of recent times,"

During more than 20 years of civil war, Somalia has seen clan-based warlords, rival politicians and Islamist militants battle for control - a situation that has allowed lawlessness to flourish.

Last September, a UN-backed government came to power, after eight years of transitional rule, bringing some stability to some areas.


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The 2019-2020 bushfire season, killing or displacing three billion animals, in which country is now referred to as Black Summer?

Last summer's bushfires, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dubbed Australia's “black summer”, also killed 33 people and razed over 24 million hectares (59 million acres) in the country.

The fires ravaged more than 115,000 square kilometres (44,400 square miles) of drought-stricken bushland and forest across Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, killing more than 30 people and destroying thousands of homes.

It was the broadest and most prolonged bushfire season in modern Australian history, with scientists attributing the severity of the crisis to the impacts of climate change.

An earlier study in January estimated the fires had killed a billion animals in the hardest-hit eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria. But the new survey was the first to cover fire zones across the continent, said lead scientist Lily van Eeden, of the University of Sydney.


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In 2010, which Caribbean country was hit by a high-magnitude earthquake, leaving at least 3, 00,000 people dead?

With approximately 3 million people affected, this earthquake was the most devastating natural disaster ever experienced in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Roughly 250,000 lives were lost and 300,000 people were injured. About 1.5 million individuals were forced to live in makeshift internally displaced person camps. As a result, the country faced the greatest humanitarian need in its history.

The earthquake registered a magnitude 7.0; that’s a high level of energy at the point of impact. Because it occurred at 6.2 miles below the surface, a shallow depth, its powerful energy had a devastating effect at ground level.

The epicenter of the quake was near to Port-au-Prince, the capital city, with more than 2 million people in the metropolitan area. Many of Port-au-Prince’s multi-story concrete buildings collapsed in a deadly heap because they were poorly constructed. There were no building codes enforced.


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The Holocaust – the killing of millions of European Jews – was one of the horrific acts of which World War?

The word “Holocaust,” from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned), was historically used to describe a sacrificial offering burned on an altar. Since 1945, the word has taken on a new and horrible meaning: the ideological and systematic state-sponsored persecution and mass murder of millions of European Jews (as well as millions of others, including Romani people, the intellectually disabled, dissidents and homosexuals) by the German Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. 

To the anti-Semitic Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Jews were an inferior race, an alien threat to German racial purity and community. After years of Nazi rule in Germany, during which Jews were consistently persecuted, Hitler’s “final solution”—now known as the Holocaust—came to fruition under the cover of World War II, with mass killing centers constructed in the concentration camps of occupied Poland. Approximately six million Jews and some 5 million others, targeted for racial, political, ideological and behavioral reasons, died in the Holocaust. More than one million of those who perished were children.


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In December 2004, a tsunami hit the coasts of several countries of South and Southeast Asia. In which ocean did it occur?

Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, tsunami that hit the coasts of several countries of South and Southeast Asia in December 2004. The tsunami and its aftermath were responsible for immense destruction and loss on the rim of the Indian Ocean.

The quake caused the ocean floor to suddenly rise by as much as 40 meters, triggering a massive tsunami. Within 20 minutes of the earthquake, the first of several 100-foot waves hit the shoreline of Banda Aceh, killing more than 100,000 people and pounding the city into rubble. Then, in succession, tsunami waves rolled over coastlines in Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka, killing tens of thousands more. Eight hours later and 5,000 miles from its Asian epicenter, the tsunami claimed its final casualties on the coast of South Africa. In all, nearly 230,000 people were killed, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history.

Since the 2004 tsunami, governments and aid groups have prioritized disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Only three weeks after the tsunami, representatives of 168 nations agreed to the Hyogo Framework for Action, which paved the way for global cooperation for disaster risk reduction. Since then, ocean floor earthquake sensors have been installed to trigger early warnings, and many local communities have been trained in evacuation and disaster response.


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In 1994, which two plagues hit several States of India, resulting in death too?

The 1994 plague in India was an outbreak of bubonic and pneumonic plague in south-central and western India from 26 August to 18 October 1994. 693 suspected cases and 56 deaths were reported from the five affected Indian states as well as the Union Territory of Delhi. These cases were from Maharashtra (488 cases), Gujarat (77 cases), Karnataka (46 cases), Uttar Pradesh (10 cases), Madhya Pradesh (4 cases) and New Delhi (68 cases). There are no reports of cases being exported to other countries.

In the first week of August 1994, health officials reported unusually large numbers of deaths of domestic rats in Surat city of Gujarat state. On 21 September 1994, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner of Health (DMCH) for Surat city received a report that a patient had died seemingly due to pneumonic plague. The DMCH of Surat alerted medical officers in the area where the patient had died. Later that day, a worried caller informed DMCH about 10 deaths in Ved Road residential area and around 50 seriously ill patients admitted to the hospital.

News of the plague spread through Surat city through the night of 21 September 1994. Ill-prepared, medical shops quickly exhausted stocks of tetracycline. This led to panic with people fleeing hospitals fearing infection from other sick patients.

This triggered the biggest post-independence migration of people in India with around 300,000 people leaving Surat city in 2 days, for fear of illness or of being quarantined.


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The leak of radioactive material at which nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986 impacted the health of the people in the region for decades?

The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel.

The resulting steam explosion and fires released at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the environment, with the deposition of radioactive materials in many parts of Europe.

The accident destroyed the Chernobyl 4 reactor, killing 30 operators and firemen within three months and several further deaths later. One person was killed immediately and a second died in hospital soon after as a result of injuries received. Another person is reported to have died at the time from a coronary thrombosisc. Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) was originally diagnosed in 237 people onsite and involved with the clean-up and it was later confirmed in 134 cases. Of these, 28 people died as a result of ARS within a few weeks of the accident. Nineteen more workers subsequently died between 1987 and 2004, but their deaths cannot necessarily be attributed to radiation exposured. Nobody offsite suffered from acute radiation effects although a significant, but uncertain, fraction of the thyroid cancers diagnosed since the accident in patients who were children at the time are likely to be due to intake of radioactive iodine falloutm,9. Furthermore, large areas of Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and beyond were contaminated in varying degrees.


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In 1931, the swelling of which river killed millions in China, making it one of the worst natural disasters of the 20th Century?

On August 18, 1931, the Yangtze River in China peaks during a horrible flood that kills 3.7 million people directly and indirectly over the next several months. This was perhaps the worst natural disaster of the 20th century.

The Yangtze River runs through southern China, one of the most populated areas on Earth. The region’s people, most of whom lived at subsistence level, depended on the river for water for their personal and farming needs. In April, the river-basin area received far-above-average rainfall. When torrential rains came again in July, the stage was set for disaster. The Yangtze flooded over a 500-square-mile area. The rising waters drove 500,000 people from their homes by the beginning of August.

Much of the disaster may have been averted if flood-control measures had been followed closely. The Yangtze carries large amounts of sediment, which accumulates in certain areas of the river and must be cleared regularly. However, with much of the area’s resources devoted to civil war at the time, the river was neglected.


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