Natural disasters in 2022: Several countries around the world battled a wave of extreme weather events from wildfire to floods and earthquake to mudslide. With climate change becoming more and more evident, natural disasters like floods, cyclones, landslides and cloudbursts have also been making lives miserable and sometimes even threatening.
The worst disasters of 2022 fell across the spectrum, from floods in India and Nigeria, to drought in Uganda and earthquakes in Afghanistan.
Here are 10 'deadliest' natural calamities that shook the globe in 2022:
1. Afghanistan Floods
Afghanistan was host to unseasonal heavy rainfall throughout the month of August, and the results were catastrophic. At least 182 Afghans lost their lives in the ensuing floods and landslides. Still reeling from an earthquake less than two months prior, the country’s leadership implored the international community for further assistance.
2. East Africa Drought
Much of East Africa has been experiencing what the UN has called the “worst drought in over forty years,” putting millions at risk of starvation. Figures vary, but both local and international officials place the death toll from hunger above 200 in northeastern Uganda alone, media reports. Some estimates place the drought’s present toll as high as one life lost every 36 seconds, accounting for data gaps. With crop production halved in certain areas, high levels of malnutrition are expected to persist into 2023, says the European Commission.
3. Brazil mudslide
Just two months into the year, heavy rains pelted the Brazilian town of Petropolis. Flood waters and mudslides surged through the mountainous town, taking at least 233 lives, according to media reports. Once a preferred summer residence for Brazil's emperors during the country’s imperial period, Petropolis has now spent the last few months recovering from the devastating flooding.
4. Indonesia Earthquake
A magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook the town of Cianjur in western Indonesia on November 21, killing at least 334 people, according to the most recent estimates. Due to its position in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic collisions are common, earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia.
5. Assam floods
India’s June to September monsoon season featured, much like the previous year, above-average rainfall, according to media reports. Among the most affected areas was the northeastern state of Assam, where flooding and landslides killed at least 192 people. The river Brahmaputra has always changed course and reclaimed farmland and villages, but the frequency and severity of the river's destruction has increased in recent years.
6. South African Flooding Kills an Estimated 461 People
In early April, heavy rain fell on South Africa’s Eastern Cape- including parts of Durban, the country’s third most populous city- causing flooding and landslides, and killing an estimated 461 people, according to government officials. Months on from the disaster, more than 70 are still missing and thousands are without permanent housing.
7. Pakistan Floods
From June to October, record-breaking flooding washed away thousands of homes and took the lives of at least 1,739 people in Pakistan, according to official estimates. Local officials say that the floodwaters could take up to six months to recede completely.
8. Somalia Drought
UN agencies are calling for more spending to help Somalia strengthen its resilience against future climate effects and ward off crises such as the current famine-inducing drought. A looming famine in Somalia, brought on by the longest drought in 40 years, is destroying livelihoods and threatening to kill many of the 7.1 million people facing acute hunger. A significant increase in humanitarian aid from U.N. agencies and the international community in response to the crisis so far has prevented the worst from happening.
9. Congo floods
The number of people killed by widespread floods and landslides in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, has climbed to more than 140, said the government. Several people are still missing but the government is not optimistic anyone will be found alive. “There is no hope of finding survivors,” Minister of Health Lisa Nembalemba told media. The government has announced three days of mourning starting Wednesday.
10. Hawaii volcanic eruptions
US scientists declared Tuesday that two active Hawaii volcanoes- one where lava destroyed hundreds of homes in 2018 and another where lava recently stalled before reaching a crucial Big Island highway- have stopped erupting. “Kilauea is no longer erupting,” the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement Tuesday, followed by a separate one saying, “Mauna Loa is no longer erupting.” Alert levels for both volcanoes were reduced from watch to advisory.
Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, began spewing molten rock Nov. 27 after being quiet for 38 years, drawing onlookers to take in the incandescent spectacle, and setting some nerves on edge early on among people who’ve lived through destructive eruptions. It was Mauna Loa’s longest period of repose, said Ken Hon, the observatory’s scientist in charge.
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