DEATHS: December 26, 2004; off the West Coast of Sumatra, 9.1 Magnitude (M). This is the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake. The earthquake caused severe damage and casualties in northern Sumatra, Indonesia and in the Nicobar Islands, India. More than 297,000 people were either killed or listed as missing and presumed dead and 1,126,900 were displaced by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 13 countries in South Asia and East Africa. The estimated economic losses exceeded $10 billion.
#2 – January 12, 2010; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; 7.0M, 223,000 dead.
#3 – May 12, 2008; Sichuan Province, China; 7.9M, 88,000 killed.
#4 – October 8, 2005; Uri, Pakistan; 7.6M, 80,000 dead.
#5 – January 26, 2001; Bhuj, India; 7.7M, 20,000 killed.
DAMAGES: The March 11, 2011 earthquake (9.0M) near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, generated a devastating tsunami that was observed all over the Pacific and caused tremendous destruction locally. The highest wave from the tsunami was 39 meters (128 feet) in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Tsunamis were reported in the Kuril Islands, Russia; South America, Hawaii and the west coast of the United States. Total damages are estimated at over $300 billion.
#2 – May 12, 2008; Sichuan Province, China; 7.9M, $121 billion.
#3 – February 27, 2010; Concepcion, Chile; 8.8M, $30 billion.
#4 – December 26, 2004; Sumatra, Indonesia; 9.1M, $10 billion.
#5 – January 12, 2010; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; 7.0M, $8 billion.
HOUSES DESTROYED: May 12, 2008; Sichuan Province, China, 7.9M, 5,360,000 houses destroyed. At least 88,000 people killed, 374,000 injured and 18,000 missing and presumed dead in the Chengdu-Lixian-Guangyuan area. More than 45 million people in 10 provinces and regions were affected. At least 15 million people were evacuated from their homes and more than 5 million were left homeless. An estimated 5 million buildings collapsed and more than 21 million buildings were damaged in Sichuan and in parts of Chongqing, Gansu, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan. The total economic loss was estimated at 121 billion US dollars. Beichuan, Dujiangyan, Wuolong and Yingxiu were almost completely destroyed. Landslides and rock falls damaged or destroyed several mountain roads and railways and buried buildings in the Beichuan-Wenchuan area, cutting off access to the region for several days. At least 700 people were buried by a landslide at Qingchuan. Landslides also dammed several rivers, creating 34 barrier lakes which threatened about 700,000 people downstream. A train was buried by a landslide near Longnan, Gansu. At least 2,473 dams sustained some damage and more than 53,000 kms (330 miles) of roads and 47,000 kms (290 miles) of tap water pipelines were damaged. About 1.5 kms (1 mile) of surface faulting was observed near Qingchuan, surface cracks and fractures occurred on three mountains in the area, and subsidence and street cracks were observed in the city itself.
#2 – January 26, 2001; Bhuj, India; 7.7M, 339,000 houses destroyed.
#3 – March 11, 2011; Honshu, Japan; 9.0M, 121,000 houses destroyed.
#4 – January 13, 2001; El Salvador, 7.7M, 108,000 houses destroyed.
#5 – January 12, 2010; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; 7.0M, 97,000 destroyed.
The Master of Disaster