Natural Disasters

The Worst Tsunamis In History 

Drake Bird
Updated December 27, 2019 642k views 14 items

This is a list of the worst tsunamis in history, with pictures where possible. From the most recent, current tsunamis to those of the past, this list has them all. What was the worst tsunami ever? With death tolls reaching tragic proportions, these are not only the worst tsunamis environmentally, but they're also the deadliest.

World disasters such as these famous natural catastrophes can affect the planet on a global scale and test the preparedness and relief our governments can provide. What were the worst tsunamis in history? Such great disasters, despite the destruction and natural hazards that come along with them, can also bring forth examples of how big our hearts are as we as individuals provide aid alongside our countries. This list gives us the most major examples. Fortunately, events such as these are not always so disastrous and can provide us with the opportunity to make plans for when these epic events occur. One thing's for sure, they'll make you think twice about the ocean next time you head out to catch a big wave.

If you're in shock over the size of some of the largest tsunamis ever recorded, try checking out the worst earthquakes, biggest tornadoes, and most tragic volcanic eruptions in history. They'll really enlighten you on the power of mother nature.

14
2018 Indonesia Earthquake/Tsunami
Ranker Video
Video: YouTube

On September 28, 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi near its central province, Palu. The earthquake cut the power off for many, which is why people didn't receive a warning about the tsunami which quickly followed. 

The tsunami had waves up to 10 feet high as it tore through Palu. In the three days after the disaster, officials confirmed 844 dead, and they believed they would find more underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings and homes. 

Roughly 2.4 million people were affected by the quake and the tsunami. Some people resorted to looting for necessities like fuel and water. Over 1,000 inmates fled from five prisons, and officials demanded that inmates return within the week. 

2010 Haiti Earthquake is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst Tsunamis In History
Photo: UN Photo/Logan Abassi/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0
13
2010 Haiti Earthquake

Haiti suffered one of the largest earthquakes in their history in 2010. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake was centered near Port-au-Prince and set off a swarm of tsunamis that killed up to 300,000 people and destroyed many homes.

The waves were averaged to be about 10 feet high.

2010 Sumatra Earthquake/... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst Tsunamis In History
Photo: Jeremie Yoder/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
12
2010 Sumatra Earthquake/Tsunami

The October 2010 Sumatra earthquake occurred on the same fault as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The second time wasn't as disastrous but there was still substantial damage. This time around, the earthquake was 7.7 on the Richter scale and developed a tsunami that struck the Mentawai Islands.

The tsunami, which had a wave 10 feet high, destroyed many of the villages on the island. It displaced more than 20,000 people and reportedly killed 435.

2010 Chile Earthquake/Ts... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Worst Tsunamis In History
Photo:  Claudio Núñez/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
11
2010 Chile Earthquake/Tsunami

A 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile on February 27, 2010, with intense shaking that lasted for about three minutes. It triggered a tsunami that destroyed several coastal towns in south-central Chile.

The tsunami raced through the Pacific Ocean and 53 countries had to post warnings, though there was little damage as it moved past Hawaii, Australia, and Japan. The death toll was 521 victims.