Definitions

Kelut, Mount

Kelut, Mount

Kelut, Mount, Indonesia: see Kelud, Mount.
For man-made disasters see: List of wars and disasters by death toll

A death toll is the number of dead as a result of war, violence, accident, natural disaster, extreme weather, or disease.

Below is a list of death tolls for various natural disasters. Most numbers are estimates and are often in dispute. The incidents are ranked from the highest to the lowest estimate given. This list is, by necessity, somewhat biased toward the modern period, due to better reporting of events.

Some events overlap categories.

Top Ten deadliest natural disasters

List excludes diseases and famines, which would otherwise occupy the entire list.

Rank Event Location Date Death Toll (Estimate)
1. 1931 China floods China 01931-01-011931 2,000,000-4,000,000*
2. 1887 Yellow River flood China 01887-01-011887, September–October 900,000–2,000,000
3. 1556 Shaanxi earthquake Shaanxi Province, China 01556-01-011556, January 23 830,000+
4. 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh 01970-01-011970, November 13 500,000
5. 1839 India Cyclone India 01839-01-011839, November 25 ≥ 300,000
6. 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami Indian Ocean 02004-12-262004, December 26 283,100
7. 1526 Antioch earthquake Turkey 00526-05-201526, May 20 250,000
8. 1976 Tangshan earthquake Tangshan, Hebei, China 01976-07-281976, July 28 242,000
9. 1920 Haiyuan earthquake Haiyuan, Ningxia-Gansu, China 01920-12-161920, December 16 240,000
10. 1975 Banqiao Dam failure Henan, China 01975-08-011975, August 231,000

* Estimate by Nova's sources are close to four million and yet Encarta's sources report as few as one million. Expert estimates report wide variance.

Deadliest natural disasters by kind of Event

Event Event name Location Date Death Toll (Estimate)
Avalanche Wellington avalanche United States 01910-03-01March 1, 1910
Blizzard Iran Blizzard Iran 01972-02-01February 1972
Drought Great Famine of 1876–78 India 01921-01-011876–1878
Earthquake Shaanxi Earthquake China 01556-01-011556
Flood 1931 China floods China 01931-01-011931
Hailstorm Roopkund, Uttaranchal India 00800-01-019th century
Heat wave European Heat Wave of 2003 Europe 02003-01-012003
Landslide 1999 Vargas mudslide Venezuela 1999
Limnic Eruption Lake Nyos Cameroon 01986-01-011986
Pandemic Black Death worldwide 01330-01-011330–1351
Tornado Saturia-Manikganj Sadar Tornado Bangladesh 01989-04-26April 26, 1989
Tropical cyclone 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh 01970-11-13November 13, 1970
Tsunami Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami Indian Ocean 02004-12-26December 26, 2004
Volcano Mount Tambora Indonesia 01815-01-011815
Wildfire Peshtigo Fire United States 01871-10-08October 8, 1871

Top Ten Deadliest Earthquakes

Death Toll Event Location Date
$830,000 1556 Shaanxi earthquake China 1556
$286,000 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake Indonesia 2004
$255,000 1976 Tangshan earthquake China 1976
$240,000 1920 Haiyuan earthquake China 1920
$ 230,000 1138 Aleppo earthquake Syria 1138
$200,000 Damghan earthquake Iran 856
$150,000 Ardabil earthquake Iran 893
$137,000 1730 Hokkaidō earthquake Japan 1730
$110,000 1948 Ashgabat earthquake Turkmenistan 1948
$105,000 Great Kanto earthquake Japan 1923

Top Ten Deadliest Volcanic eruptions

Death Toll Event Location Date
$ 71,000 Mount Tambora (see also Year Without a Summer) Indonesia 01815-01-011815
$36,000 Krakatoa Indonesia 01883-08-26August 26 - August 27, 1883
$29,000 Mount Pelée Martinique 01902-05-07May 7 or May 8, 1902
$23,000 Nevado del Ruiz Colombia 01985-11-13November 13, 1985
$18,000 Mount Vesuvius Italy 01631-01-011631
$15,000 Mount Unzen Japan 01792-01-011792
$10,000 Mount Kelut Indonesia 01586-01-011586
$9,350 Laki. Killed about 25% of the population (33% were killed about 70 years before by smallpox) Iceland 01783-06-08 June 8, 1783
$6,000 Santa Maria Guatemala 01902-01-011902
$5,115 Mount Kelut Indonesia 01919-05-19 May 19, 1919

Notes

A supervolcano eruption at Lake Toba around 74,000 years ago is thought to have wiped out as much as 99% of the global human population, reducing the population from at most 60 million to less than 10 thousand; see Toba catastrophe theory. This eruption is not listed because it occurred before recorded history. Also, the Thera eruption in the Aegean Sea between 1550 and 1650 B.C. may have caused a large number of deaths throughout the region, from Crete to Egypt. See also La Garita Caldera, Yellowstone Caldera, and Supervolcanoes.

References

Top Ten Deadliest Tsunamis

See Historic tsunami for more detailed information.

Death Toll Event Location Date
$ > 350,000 (sources vary) Indian Ocean earthquake with tsunami Indian Ocean 2004
$100,000 1755 Lisbon earthquake, tsunami, earthquake and fire Portugal, Morocco, Ireland and United Kingdom (Cornwall) 1755
$100,000 Messina, Italy earthquake and tsunami Italy 1908
$36,000 Krakatoa volcano explosion Indonesia 1883
$30,000 Tokaido-Nankaido Japan 1707
$27,000 Japan 1826
$25,674 1868 Arica earthquake Chile 1868
$22,070 Sanriku Japan 1896
$15,030 Caused by Mount Unzen, Southwest Kyūshū Japan 1792
$13,486 Ryukyu Trench 1771

Extreme weather

Top Ten Deadliest Heat waves

Death Toll Event Location Date
37,451 European Heat Wave of 2003 Western Europe 02003-06-012003
3,418 European Heat Wave of 2006 France, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Romania 02006-01-012006
2,541 1998 India heat wave India 01998-01-011998
1,900 2003 India heat wave India 02003-01-012009
1,250–10,000 1980 United States heat wave United States 01980-01-011980
1,000–1,500 1987 Mediterranean heat wave Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, Turkey, Italy 01987-01-011987
over 1,000 1994 East Asia heat wave China, Japan, South Korea 01994-01-011994
739 Chicago Heat Wave of 1995 United States (Chicago, Illinois) 01995-01-011995
500 Hungary Heat Wave of 2007 Hungary 02007-01-012007
437 Southern regions, Australia 1895–1896 Australia 01895-01-011895–1896

Top Ten Deadliest Storms (non-cyclone)

Death Toll Event Location Date
15,100 Torrential rains and mudslides Venezuela 1999
669 (and 695 missing) Heavy storms ("Winnie") Philippines 2004
500 Lofoten, Heavy storm Norway 1849
≥ 250 Great Lakes Storm of 1913 United States and Canada (Great Lakes region) 1913
210 Trøndelag, storm ("Follastormen") Norway 1625
189 Eyemouth, Scotland, storm ("Black Friday") United Kingdom 1881
140 Trøndelag, storm ("Titran disaster") Norway 1899
96 Lofoten, storm Norway 1868
30 Haugesund, storm ("Røvær disaster") Norway 1899
26 Vesterålen, storm Norway 1802

Top Ten Deadliest Tornadoes

Death Toll Event Location Date
$1,300 The Saturia-Manikganj Sadar Tornado Bangladesh; (Manikganj) 1989
$923 1969 East Pakistan Tornado Bangladesh 1969
$695 The Tri-State Tornado United States; (MissouriIllinoisIndiana) 1925
$681 1973 Dhaka Tornado Bangladesh 1973
$600 The Malta Tornado Malta 1551
$500 The Sicily Tornado Italy 1851
$500 The Narail-Magura Tornadoes Bangladesh (Jessore) 1964
$500 The Comoro Tornado Comoro 1951
$440 The Tangail Tornado Bangladesh 1996
$400 Ivanovo, Yaroslavl Tornado Russia 1984

Top Ten Deadliest Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons

Death Toll Event Location Date
500,000 1970 Bhola cyclone Bangladesh (East Pakistan) 1970
300,000 1839 Indian cyclone India 1839
300,000 1881 Haiphong Typhoon Vietnam 1881
300,000 1737 Calcutta cyclone India 1737
210,000 Super Typhoon Nina—contributed to Banqiao Dam failure China 1975
200,000 1876 Bengal cyclone present day Bangladesh 1876
~146,000 Cyclone Nargis Myanmar 2008
138,866 1991 Bangladesh cyclone Bangladesh 1991
100,000 1882 Bombay cyclone Bombay, India June 6,1882
60,000 1922 Swatow Typhoon China 1922
60,000 1864 Calcutta Cyclone India 1864

References

Top Ten Deadliest Floods and landslides

Death Toll Event Location Date
2,500,000–3,700,000 1931 China floods China 1931
900,000–2,000,000 1887 Yellow River (Huang He) flood China 1887
500,000–700,000 1938 Yellow River (Huang He) flood China 1938
231,000 Banqiao Dam failure, result of Typhoon Nina. Approximately 86,000 people died from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent disease. China 1975
145,000 1935 Yangtze river flood China 1935
more than 100,000 St. Felix's Flood, storm surge Netherlands 1530
100,000 Hanoi and Red River Delta flood North Vietnam 1971
100,000 1911 Yangtze river flood China 1911
50,000–80,000 St. Lucia's flood, storm surge Netherlands 1287
60,000 North Sea flood, storm surge Netherlands 1212

Top Ten Deadliest Wildfires, bushfires

Death Toll Event Location Date
$1,200–2,500 Peshtigo Fire, Wisconsin United States 1871
$453 Cloquet Fire, Minnesota United States 1918
$418 Hinckley Fire, Minnesota United States 1894
$≥ 250 Thumb Fire, Michigan United States 1881
$200–250 Matheson Fire, Ontario Canada 1916
$240 Sumatra, Kalimantan Indonesia 1997
$230 Landes region France 1949
$213 Greater Hinggan, Heilongjiang China 1987
$160 Miramichi Fire, New Brunswick Canada 1825
$110 1963 Paraná Forest fires, Brazil 1963

References

Top Ten Deadliest Blizzards

Death Toll Event Location Date
$4,000 Iran Blizzard Iran 1972
$1,317 2008 Afghanistan blizzard with snow storm Afghanistan 2008
$400 Great Blizzard of 1888 United States 1888
$318 1993 North American Storm Complex United States 1993
$235 Schoolhouse Blizzard United States 1888
$199 Hakkōda Mountains during military training exercise Japan 1902
$144 Armistice Day Blizzard United States 1940
$133 2008 China Blizzard during snow storm China 2008
$112 1995 Kazakh Blizzard during snow storm Kazakhstan 1995
$54 Blizzard of 1978 United States 1978

Top Ten Deadliest Famines

Please Note: Some of these famines may be partially or completely caused by humans.
Death Toll Event Location Date
20,000,000–43,000,000 Great Chinese Famine China 1958–1961
24,000,000 Chinese Famine of 1907 China 1907
19,000,000 Indian Famine India 1896–1902
15,000,000 Bengal famine of 1770, incl. Bihar & Orissa India 1769–1771
13,000,000 Northern Chinese Famine China 1876–1879
10,000,000 Southern and Central Indian Famine India 1876–1879
7,500,000 Great European Famine Europe 1315–1317
5,000,000 Chinese Famine of 1936 China 1936
5,000,000 Holodomor Ukraine 1932–1934
5,000,000 Ukraine and Volga Famine Ukraine, Russia 1921–1922
4,000,000 Bengal famine of 1943 India 1943
3,000,000 Chinese Drought 1941 China 1941
3,000,000 Chinese Famine of 1928–1930 China 1928–1930

Footnotes

See also

Other lists organized by death toll

External links

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