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10 Most Fatal Natural Disasters of All Time

Mother Nature can be both our ultimate provider as well as our ultimate destroyer. For millions of years, humanity has been affected by natural disasters with some of the deadliest having wiped out entire civilizations and making a devastating mark on the world. Historians and scientists have long studied some of the more famous natural disasters such as Pompeii and the stories of an ancient Great Flood (which is linked to the story of Noah and the Ark). From earthquakes, to tsunamis, to floods and volcanoes, there’s almost nowhere on earth safe from the deadly fury of Mother Nature.

With the toll of natural disasters seemingly escalating - most recently this month there's been a landslide at goldmine in Guinea which killed 7 and a fatal avalanche on Mount Everest which took the life of 15 climbers - many around the world are left wondering whether Mother Nature is on an angry rampage. Her unpredictable character makes her all the more fearful. The human race, of course, has the ability to create horrific disasters all by itself, but when natural disasters occur it's difficult if not impossible to place blame. All man can do in the face of nature's wrath is prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Natural disasters are always devastating - hence 'disaster' - but some have been cataclysmic in the scale of their damage. There have been those disasters that have had death tolls so high, they obliterated entire communities. Despite the fact that we, as a race, become more creative and innovative every decade, when Mother Nature allows disaster to strike it is a somber and humbling reminder that we're far from invincible and we still have much to learn about the world around us. The following deadly disasters have contributed to the development of more advanced warning systems, stronger buildings, and increased strategic planning in high-risk areas. Rising from the rubble, the waters, or the ashes, natural disasters continue to serve as a tragic reminder of nature's supreme force.

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10 Indian Ocean Earthquake, 2004 – 230,000

This year marks the 10th anniversary of this devastating event that hit the news worldwide. In the early morning of December 26, 2004, a massive undersea earthquake (also known as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake) triggered a series of large tsunamis that destroyed cities, towns, and villages on the coastline of the Indian Ocean. The quake had a magnitude between 9.1 and 9.3 and is the second largest earthquake ever recorded. It literally shook the world and made the earth vibrate about half an inch.

9 Banqiao Dam, 1975 – 231,000

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8 Haiyuan Earthquake, 1920 – 235,000

7 Tangshan Earthquake, 1976 – 242,000

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6 Antioch Earthquake, 526 CE – 300,000

5 India Cyclone, 1839 – 300,000

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4 Bhola Cyclone, 1970 – 500,000

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3 Shaanxi Earthquake, 1556 – 830,000

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2 Yellow River Flood, 1887 – 900,000– 2 Million

1 Central China Flood, 1931 – 3.7 Million

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