The world has been forced to bear the brunt of some of the worst environmental calamities brought on by human activity and Mother Nature throughout history, affecting thousands of people each year. 

Major disasters like these can result in massive loss of life and physical ruin. They are frequently unexpected and can startle entire populations.

A disaster is a hazard that causes considerable physical damage, loss of life, or environmental degradation. In today’s academic world, disasters are viewed as the result of poor risk management. 

Hazards that hit low-vulnerability zones or unpopulated places will never turn into disasters. Developing countries bear the brunt of the effects of human life, financial loss, and environmental degradation.

Natural or artificial disasters might strike at any time. Natural disasters are horrible enough without adding to the misery.

To learn about the latest storm or earthquake casualties, all you have to do is turn on the television or go online. People who feel emotional distress due to a calamity are not alone.

Anxiety, continual worrying, insomnia, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions to disasters before, during, and after the event.

Table of Contents

1. Hurricanes

Category 5 Hurricane Micheal destruction. Copyright: Tornado Trackers

A tropical cyclone, sometimes known as a hurricane, is a storm that develops over tropical or subtropical oceans. Hurricanes wreak havoc on millions of people living along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts every year. 

Hurricanes can bring tornadoes, flooding, and powerful winds to the southwestern United States and the Pacific Coast.

One of the most severe issues following Hurricane Ike in Texas was that the water treatment plants did not have backup power and could not continue operating during the hurricane, resulting in sewage contamination.

2. Earthquakes

An earthquake occurs when the Earth’s plates shift, creating strong ground shaking that can last a few seconds to many minutes. Initial mild tremors may quickly escalate and become intense. 

Earthquakes can strike at any time of year and without notice. California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Washington, in particular, are more prone to this disaster than other states.

Earthquakes are pretty frequent, and they happen every day somewhere in the world. The great majority, however, are regarded as minor. In 2015, the United States Geological Survey recorded more than 3,000 earthquakes.

3. Tsunamis

A tsunami is a sequence of ocean waves that cause water to surge onto land, reaching up to 100 feet in some cases. When these water walls crash onshore, they can cause tremendous devastation.

Large undersea earthquakes at tectonic plate borders are commonly responsible for these magnificent waves. 

When the ocean floor at a plate boundary suddenly rises or dips, it displaces the water above it, causing rolling waves to form, eventually producing a tsunami.

The majority of tsunamis–roughly 80%–happen along the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a geologically active region where tectonic movements frequently result in volcanoes and earthquakes.

Underwater landslides and volcanic explosions can potentially create tsunamis. They may even be launched by the impact of a giant meteorite diving into an ocean, as they were regularly in Earth’s ancient history.

4. Floods

Flood - frequent disaster
Impact of Bingley Floods, UK (source)

The most common natural disaster is flooding when a large amount of water overflows and submerges normally dry territory. 

In coastal areas, floods are frequently produced by heavy rainfall, quick snowmelt, or a storm surge from a tropical cyclone or tsunami.

Floods may wreak havoc on communities, causing death and damage to personal property as well as vital public health infrastructure. 

Floods impacted almost 2 billion people worldwide between 1998 and 2017. Floods are most dangerous to those who live in floodplains or buildings that aren’t flood-resistant, don’t have flood warning systems, or aren’t aware of the danger.

Floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves, and severe storms have caused between 80 and 90 percent of all reported natural catastrophes in the last ten years. 

Floods are becoming more common and powerful due to climate change, and extreme precipitation is expected to become more recurring and intense in the future.

5. Volcanoes

Volcanoes are the geologic designers of the planet. They’ve built up more than 80% of our planet’s surface, laying the groundwork for life to flourish. Mountains and craters are created by their explosive force.

Lava rivers strew across desolate landscapes. However, as time passes, the elements erode these volcanic rocks, releasing nutrients from their stony prisons and resulting in prosperous soils that have allowed civilizations to thrive.

Volcanoes can be found on every continent, including Antarctica. Around the world, 1,500 volcanoes are still considered potentially active; 161 of them—more than 10%—are located within the United States. 

When magma beneath the surface rises to the top of the mountain, producing gas and bubbles to form, a volcano eruption occurs. The pressure from this gas can cause a volcano to erupt.

When a volcano erupts, it can be deadly to nearby communities. In the aftermath of an eruption, many families are forced to flee their homes; if the outbreak is severe, buildings and infrastructure might be destroyed, leaving people homeless and causing massive pollution.

6. Wildfires

wildfire - frequent disaster
Jones Wildfire, Big fall creek road, US (source)

Wildfire hazard is influenced by temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, bushes, and other potential fuel. These elements are linked to climate fluctuation and change, either directly or indirectly. 

Every year, tens of thousands of people die due to pollution caused by wildfires worldwide. Wildfires also impact weather and climate by releasing significant amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and delicate particulate matter into the atmosphere. 

Air pollution, as a result, can cause a variety of health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.

7. Drought

Drought is a long stretch of dry weather that occurs naturally worldwide as part of the climatic cycle. It’s a long-term calamity marked by a lack of precipitation resulting in a water deficit. 

Drought has significant consequences for human health, agriculture, economy, energy, and the environment.

Droughts affect an estimated 55 million people worldwide each year, and they constitute the most serious threat to animals and crops in practically every corner of the globe. 

Drought endangers people’s livelihoods, raises disease and death risks, and encourages mass migration. Forty percent of the world’s population is affected by water scarcity, with up to 700 million people in danger of being displaced by drought by 2030. 

Floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, heat waves, and severe storms have caused between 80 and 90 percent of all reported natural catastrophes in the last ten years.

8. Humanity induced diasters

Bhopal plant - frequent disasters
Pesticide plant of Bhopal after 30 years of an incident (source)

London was one of the nations that influenced the industrialization market during the Industrial Revolution. There was a lot of energy usage on this account, mainly coal usage. 

This revolution frequently spewed toxins into the air, causing people to become accustomed to seeing foggy, extremely polluted air.

However, by 1952, the contamination reached a critical level. Because the weather was so frigid that winter, residents burnt more coal than usual to keep warm. 

As a result, the smoke, along with nitrogen oxides, soot, and sulfur dioxide, reached dangerously high levels, blanketing London in a black cloud of near-complete darkness, killing over 12,000 people.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant underwent a reactor shutdown on April 26, 1986. A catastrophic fire and explosion followed from a runaway nuclear reaction, instantaneously killing 50 people and releasing more than 400 times the radiation produced by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 

The widespread dissemination of radioactive chemicals has been connected to almost 4000 cancer deaths. Belarus was severely impacted, with radioactive contamination found in the British Isles. The site’s radiation levels remain high, and the number of nuclear items buried beneath the wreckage is unknown.

A Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, discharged a deadly chemical fog on December 3, 1984, killing over 5,000 people. 

They died as a result of isocyanate (pesticide) gas poisoning. More than 50,000 people were treated due to their exposure to the gas, and over 500,000 people were exposed. 

Proponents allege that the gas leak has resulted in the deaths of an additional 20,000 people since then. It is widely considered to be the worst industrial chemical disaster in history.


Many people can “bounce back” after disasters with the help of family and friends, while others may require additional assistance to manage and move on on the road to recovery. Survivors in the affected areas and first responders and recovery professionals are at risk. 

Scientists predict that as the climate changes, more extreme events will occur, worsening the effects of natural and human-caused dangers. So, we all should be aware and effort to prevent such disasters.

(Last Updated on April 21, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Rishu Shakya, a bachelor’s degree graduate in Business Information Management, holds an extraordinary empathy towards mother nature and her ecosystem. She has always been captivated by green Earth and its charm. She regards spreading awareness about clean energy and sustainable development as her passion as well as responsibility. She believes her compassion about the Earth and human relationships will undoubtedly assist our planet to be a better place.