List: 10 deadliest natural disasters

Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 27, 2015
and last updated 2016-08-24 06:08:48-04

Poor infrastructure, large populations bases and bad timing have led to some of the most horrific natural disasters in recorded history.

After Italy was impacted by a devastating earthquake early Wednesday, here is a look back at some of the world’s worst natural disasters. 

#10 Haiyuan County Earthquake, Dec. 16, 1920

The in China’s Haiyuan County killed more than 200,000 people and led to landslides. The earthquake registered a magnitude of 8.5, according to

The area had not been hit by a recorded earthquake in nearly 300 years and had 10 major population centers that were impacted.

#9 Haiti Earthquake, Jan. 12, 2010

The massive earthquake that hit Haiti killed between 230,000 and 316,000 people and left more than a million people displaced.

The earthquake devastated infrastructure in an already impoverished region. The earthquake registered a 7.0 magnitude and destroyed Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

#8 Antioch Earthquake, May, 526

The Antioch earthquake hit what is now Antakya, Turkey along with Syria and killed about 250,000 to 300,000 according to historical writing. The earthquake was the deadliest known natural disaster for more than 1,000 years.

The earthquake itself had a magnitude of 7.0, but fires in the earthquake’s aftermath proved to be devastating.

#7 India Cyclone, Nov. 25, 1839

A tropical cyclone drilled Coringa, India killing 300,000 and shattering the area. The storm created a 40-foot storm surge, according to

The region has been hit by a number of the world’s deadliest tropical cyclones.

#6 Calcutta Cyclone, Oct. 11, 1737

The cyclone, also known as the Hooghly River Cyclone, destroyed 20,000 water vessels and killed between 300,000 to 350,000 after a 30-40-foot storm surge decimated West Bengal, India in the country’s Ganges River Delta.

The storm produced 15 inches of rain in six hours, according to

#5 Tangshan earthquake, July 28, 1976

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 roiled China in the early morning hours. The death toll ranges widely from as low as 242,000 to 700,000.

The earthquake took down 90 percent of the buildings in Tangshan, killing many who were sleeping.

#4 Bhola Cyclone, Nov. 8, 1970

A tropical cyclone hit what is now Bangladesh, which has a lot of land just above sea level. The storm was about 85-90 miles per hour, according to Though the wind speed was not exceptionally high, the storm hit Bangladesh at a time when high tide was above average and brought a 20-foot storm surge.

An estimated 300,000 to 500,000 died.

#3 Shaanxi Earthquake, Jan. 23, 1556

The deadliest earthquake ever killed about 830,000 people. Shaanxi was a densely populated area with poorly built homes. In one city, every home collapsed, according to

The earthquake registered at a magnitude of 8.0 to 8.3.

#2 Yellow River Flood, September 1887

Sediment washed into Yellow River — also known as the Huang He — and built up to the point that the river level elevated.

After the river elevated, the water overwhelmed nearby dikes and covered a thousand square miles. The flood killed between 900,000 to 2 million people in China’s Henan Province.

#1 Central China Floods, July-August 1931

The Yangtze River peaks and floods over a 500-square-mile area, destroying crops and polluting the river.

About 3.7 million people died when the Yangtze River overflowed. Deaths were attributed to drowning, disease and starvation, according to