The Worst Natural Disasters Of 2018

Natural disasters around the world are occurring at an alarming rate in 2018. Every few weeks, we're witnessing earthquakes that demolish whole cities, wildfires that burn thousands of acres, and cyclones that cause mass flooding and property damage. In the wake of these disasters, people grieve the losses of loved ones and destroyed property while anticipating the long road back to personal and communal recovery. 

Whether they're raging wild fires, deluges of violent rain, or forceful movements in the earth's crusts, the impact of natural disasters is merciless and immeasurable. High death tolls and property damage leave civilians devastated. And it's not only families and cities who suffer in the aftermath. The scope of these events inevitably causes political, social, and economic turmoil, amplifying the tragedy and creating a vulnerable climate. 

Historically, some natural disasters have almost ended the world. This is why it's so important to keep an eye on the worst natural disasters of 2018 and consider the important environmental issues affecting the world. Ensuring we have a positive impact on the environment can help create a better future and that natural disasters in 2019 cause less loss.

  • Indonesia Tsunami 

    Indonesia Tsunami 
    Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Stringer / Getty Images AsiaPac

    Date: December 22, 2018

    Areas Affected:  Coastal towns along the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia.

    Cause: It's believed that "undersea landslides" from the Anak Krakatau volcano caused a violent tsunami which struck at night and devastated local towns, killing more than 200 people almost immediately. Indonesian president Joko Widodo claimed Indonesia does not currently have the technology to predict such eruptions and consequences. currently ability to predict. "Usually it was preceded by earthquake. That's why the residents and visitors in ...the beaches were not prepared to escape," he said. Authorities pledged to investigate installing tidal gates which would detect waves near land and give warning. 

    Damages: 1,500 injured and an estimated 22,000 displaced

    Deaths: 430

  • Fall 2018 California Fires

    Date: November 8 - November 25

    Areas Affected: Northern and Southern California

    Cause: Though the cause of each is unknown, three separate wildfires broke out in early November 2018: the Camp fire in Paradise; the Hill fire in the Santa Rosa Valley, and the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The worst of the three, the Camp fire, completely devastated the town of Paradise, causing all 27,000 residents to evacuate their homes and taking the lives of 88—in addition to scorching over 150,000 acres. Those in southern California were heavily affected by the Santa Ana winds, which caused the fires to spread quickly. The death toll in the Camp fire alone made it the deadliest (and most destructive) fire in California history. In total, over 15,000 structures (including homes) and 230,000 acres were scorched by the fires. 

    Damages: 230,000+ acres (combined)

    Deaths: 91 (combined)

  • Hurricane Michael

    Hurricane Michael
    Video: YouTube

    Date: October 10, 2018

    Areas Affected: Florida Panhandle, Gulf Coast

    Cause: low atmospheric pressure created the Category 4 hurricane, which made landfall on October 10 with winds up to 155 mph

    Damages: the hurricane caused immediate flooding and severe damage along the shore. The winds and floods aren't just threatening Florida either - southern Alabama and Georgia residents were also warned about the potential damage from the storm. The storm wreaked havoc in the Florida Panhandle, damaging hospitals and homes, cutting off transportation, and leaving over a million buildings without electricity. 

    Deaths: 6+

  • The Indonesia Earthquake And Tsunami

    The Indonesia Earthquake And Tsunami
    Video: YouTube

    Date: September 28, 2018

    Areas Affected: The island of Sulawesi, mainly its central province, Palu

    Cause: Shifting tectonic plates triggered the 7.5 magnitude earthquake, and the quake set off the tsunami, which detector buoys did not catch.

    Damages: Roughly 2.4 million people were impacted by the pair of natural disasters. As emergency officials worked and waited for supplies, displaced citizens resorted to looting to gather necessities. Officials worked to rescue people still alive and buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings. The quake cut off power supplies, which is why many people did not receive a warning about the incoming tsunami, which had waves up to 10 feet high. 

    More than 1,000 inmates from five prisons escaped after the natural disasters, and authorities are asking they return within the week. 

    Deaths: 844 and counting

  • Hurricane Florence

    Hurricane Florence
    Video: YouTube

    Date: started September 13 

    Areas Affected: US East Coast, primary the Carolinas

    Cause: The hurricane was caused by naturally occurring weather patterns

    Damages: Within 24 hours of landfall, the massive hurricane flooded homes and streets in North Carolina, prompting evacuations. The Category 1 hurricane slowed to 2-3 mph, which means the Carolinas suffered a 24-hour cycle of torrential rain and hurricane winds up to 90 mph. Up to 40 inches of rain flooded areas of the Carolinas. Over 620,000 people lost power in North and South Carolina. On Monday, September 17, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression, but it still had winds up to 30 mph. Several rivers, including Cape Fear, Little, Neuse, and Rocky Rivers, hit major flood stage in only two days. 

    A week after the hurricane, major highways remained flooded and closed. A damn at the LV Sutton Power Station failed, and officials are worried that the 400,000 cubic yards of coal ash - which contains toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, and lead - could contaminate nearby Cape Fear River.

    Death: 42 and counting

  • Super Typhoon Mangkhut

    Super Typhoon Mangkhut
    Video: YouTube

    Date: Started week of September 9, 2018

    Areas Affected: Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines, and southern China

    Cause: natural occurring weather patterns

    Damages: The typhoon caused massive flooding and power loss throughout Guam and Marshall. Residents of the Philippines started evacuating on September 14 in anticipation of the Category 5 hurricane. On September 16, the typhoon made landfall in Guangdong, China, killing four people. Winds reached up to 107 mph and prompted emergency officials to evacuate more than three million people. Hundreds of houses went powerless, and extensive flooding plagued coastal areas. In the Phillipines, 54 people were confirmed dead from the storms, and even more were reported missing. 

    Deaths: 69+