Yes indeed, many of us thought that we’d all be dead and never see the other side of the ominous, ‘2012’. The year was burdened with dire apocalyptic predictions, and while the means to the end always differed according to the version told, the ‘end’ as envisioned by all, was just the same. Life as we know it, would be no more!
Yet, we wonder sometimes if an apocalypse was not quite such a massive tectonic event that was supposed to have wiped out life from our planet; but rather, more of a series of events that took out scores and scores of people each time, till life dwindled and hit a zero.
Not everyone may be on board with this ‘slow apocalypse’ theory. That’s okay, it gives us a chance to make this point. Here are some of the world’s recent happenings around the globe. Some may be natural, some man-made, but each of these events have left many dead, many injured and lives altered in ways that can only be imagined. Sound like mini apocalypses, don’t they?
10) The Ebola Outbreak
The EVD or Ebola Virus Disease epidemic, that has been in the news for all of the past months, initially began in Guinea in December 2013. Due to it not being detected on time and also due to the fact that the severity of the epidemic had not yet come to light, it quickly spread to the neighbouring regions of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal. According to the World Health Organisation, the deadly Ebola has caused about 1552 (reported) deaths and 3069 suspected cases, as of August 2014. This despite the fact that all health precautions such as isolation and quarantine of suspected patients, closing of borders and disease control measures have been taken. This mini apocalypse is a concern internationally, considering that a reliable cure is yet to be found.
9) Floods In Indonesia
The recent flurry of flood news from across the world map has not gone unnoticed, has it? The early January flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia, left almost 60,000 locals displaced from their homes and lives, while about 20 people lost their lives. The flood problems in Indonesia did not end with that, though, as the country has been plagued with flash floods (and resulting deaths) all through the monsoon of 2014. Central Europe saw some flooding in 2013 and now Bosnia and Serbia are experiencing the same, along with landslides. Flooding and landslides this year, have not left the regions of South East Asia and South America untouched either. This makes one wonder about this major worldwide apocalyptic phenomenon. After all, aren’t we all supposed to drown or something?
8) Ukraine & Crimea Conflict
There are pages and pages worth of reading on the topic of Ukraine, Crimea and Russia and that is no surprise, considering that they have a lot of history together. But all that, is water under the bridge for us, as we are not here to debate who did what, and who did it first. What we are interested in are the numbers. Hundreds of people, both civilians as well as army men, have died in this conflict from just before the time when Russia annexed Crimea. Death has been on all sides, irrespective of country, irrespective of ideology (pro Russian or not). With all the financial sanctions imposed on Russia, parts of Europe are also concerned over a probable energy crisis. Overall, with the number of people dead, injured and affected in their ways of lives, this too is symbolically apocalyptic.
7) Mount Sinabung Volcanic Eruption
While Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano has kept us on our toes for a while; with its erupting, not erupting, erupting small through a side passage, erupting large through its main spout indecision, and red alerts that go to amber sometimes and to critical red the next, volcanic activity around the globe gives us indications of imminent mini apocalypses. Mount Sinabung, one of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes, suddenly came alive in 2010, after 400 years of dormancy. Just recently this February, the volcano erupted again, killing 16 and affecting the lives of thousands. Ash was spawn across all local villages and towns, and thousands had to be evacuated. If this isn’t the apocalyptic wrath of nature, I don’t know what is.
6) Missing Airplane MH370
We thought we had put the Bermuda triangle ‘missing items list’ to rest long ago, but we never really saw something like this coming in this century. A whole plane that took off from one place, in order to go to another, vanished midway, right into thin air. Malaysia Airline flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic control, less than an hour after take-off and when it failed to reach Beijing, it was declared ‘missing’. Several theories from hijacking to spontaneous combustion to crashing came forth, but no evidence was found. As of now, bizarrely, the plane is still missing, despite all our satellites, tracking devices, search crews and tracing machinery. Along with it are gone 12 MAS crew members and 227 passengers, of fifteen different nationalities. Considering the kind of search effort that went into finding this plane, it is indeed confounding as to what exactly did happen to it. Doesn’t it sound ominously apocalyptic that people are vanishing in thin air, right from under all our noses now?
5) San Diego Wildfires
May 2014 was an unforgettably devastating month for San Diego indeed, when as many as 20 wildfires raged and burned over 29,000 acres of matter down, in a matter of days. If the heat wasn’t bad enough, severe Santa Ana wind conditions made this mini apocalypse almost undeniable. After the first fire was lit on the 5th of May, 19 more came along (some intentional, some accidental) and burned down 42 square miles of land, damaging as many as 55 properties. While the financial damage estimate is still being compiled, one can only wonder about the environmental impact these fires had. Due to prompt evacuations, the loss of lives was limited to 1, and there were just 6 reported injuries on this one.
4) Rammasun Typhoon Philippines
Also known as typhoon Glenda, typhoon Rammasun was a tropical cyclone that impacted Philippines, South China and Vietnam in July this year. This was the seventh typhoon of this year’s storm season, and its predicted path was worrisome for Philippines. The category 4 typhoon weakened in intensity than was predicted, due to unexpectedly strong wind currents and this might have saved many from its full wrath. Still, the typhoon managed to rake in 187 reported fatalities and $6.51 billion worth of estimated damage. Thousands of people were stranded at seaports during the storm and despite timely preparations and evacuations along the predicted path, floods and landslides that succeeded the storm affected the lives of many more.
3) Airplane Downed MH17
The troubles of Malaysia Airlines this year have been apocalyptic indeed, and the company is struggling to overcome them. On the 17th of July this year, another MAS airliner went missing, but this time, we all know what happened to it. The Kuala Lumpur bound airliner that took off from Amsterdam, lost contact with air traffic control about 50 kms from the Ukraine Russia border. The commercial airliner was brutally shot down, using a Buk surface-to-air missile and it crashed near Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine. Though investigations are still ongoing to find out who is to blame for this atrocity, the Ukrainian and Russian government are busy playing to-and-from blame games, much to the horror of everyone worldwide. The incident had no survivors, and all of the 15 crew members and the 298 passengers are reported dead. Just the thought that this could happen to unwary passengers of a commercial plane, while they were busy taking their naps, reading or watching their movies, is enough to send anyone into sheer panic about what is happening in this world.
2) Gaza Israel Conflict
What is happening in Gaza today, and all the historic interplay between Israel, Palestine (Israel and Palestine being the major conflict players) and Gaza, is simply too confusing for the uninitiated to understand, especially without a map in front of them. The battle going on today is simply a different manifestation of what began in 2004, but the 2014 conflict between Hamas ruled Gaza and Israel, which lasted for 50 days from 8th July to 26th August (date of ceasefire), has been the most confounding of all. While the Gaza Health Ministry claims that they had 2143 fatalities and 11,100 injured (with 70 percent of them being civilians), other parties have other estimates. Whatever the real figures, one thing is indisputable. This mini apocalypse is atrocious for the amount of civilians being harmed, displaced from their homes and otherwise affected adversely. On another apocalyptic note, God only knows what terror organisation ISIS is going to bring down on all of us.
1) China Earthquake
Just last month, a devastating earthquake of 6.1 magnitude (Richter Scale) hit China’s Yunnan province and left death and despair in its wake. The epicenter was in the Longtoushan township, in Ludian county, a region particularly characterized by steep hills and narrow pathways. The Ministry of Civil Affairs in China confirmed that about 589 people were killed, 9 were missing and more than 2400 people were hurt due to the earthquake. Road blockages hampered relief and aid functions, and the formation of barrier lakes was also a cause of concern. Thousands of evacuations have taken place, as the water levels in the barrier lake have been rising steadily. In fact, about 60 soldiers were recently trapped in the barrier lake floods and had to be rescued themselves. Overall, the earthquake has been a disaster that will take an incredible amount of time to recover from.