Science News The Worst Natural Disasters Of 2018  

Lauren Slocum
April 26, 2018 33.8k views 14 items

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.

California Wildfires

California Wildfires is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst Natural Disasters Of 2018
Photo:  Terray Sylvester/Stringer/Getty Image News

Date: Active since July 23, 2018.

Areas Affected: All over the state, from Redding in Northern California to Riverside County in Southern California. 

Cause: Record-high temperatures combined with dry vegetation led to 17 active fires across the Golden State. The Carr fire is the most ruinous of the wildfires, and experts say it's the seventh most destructive fire in California history–and it's still growing. Firefighters from 16 states joined the containment efforts, making the total amount of firefighting personnel 12,000.

Police charged Brandon N. McGlover for arson. Authorities believe he started the Cranston Fire and several other small fires. 

Damages: Over 103,000 acres of land burned at and around Redding. The Ferguson Fire scorched 57,846 acres. In addition, the Mendocino Complex Fire has already burned tens of thousands of acres, but an exact calculation has not been made. Experts estimate fires destroyed 300,000 total acres across the state. 

The Carr Fire destroyed 657 homes in and around Redding. The Mendocino Complex Fire burned down six homes. Officials shut down the southern section of Yosemite Park due to the Ferguson Fire.

Deaths: 6 from Carr Fire2 in the Ferguson Fire.

Japan Flooding And Mudslides


Date: July

Areas Affected: Southwestern Japan

Cause: During the first week of July 2018, heavy rains in southwestern Japan led to devastating floods and mudslides. The region reportedly experienced three times the amount of normal rain for all of July in a matter of days. 

Damages: The torrential downpours caused flooding and mudslides, which destroyed buildings, caked the land with mud, and left thousands stranded and displaced. Some residents remained trapped in their cars, caught off-guard by the fast pace of the mudslides. Roughly two million people had to abandon their homes and retreat to safety. Over 70,000 emergency response workers are out helping people trapped. 

Deaths: 100+

Mount Fuego Eruption

Date: June 3

Areas Affected: Guatemala, namely the village of San Miguel Los Lotes

Cause: Unknown

Damages: The unexpected eruption affected over 2 million people. Mount Fuego is one of the most active volcanoes on the continent and had erupted a few months prior, but not to this extent. In the aftermath of the initial eruption, ash covered buildings, cars, and trees. The pyroclastic flow of the eruption destroyed streets, bridges, and the quick flow ended people's lives.

Deaths: 33+

Mount Kilauea Eruption

Mount Kilauea Eruption is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst Natural Disasters Of 2018
Photo:  RT America/YouTube

Date: May 3

Areas affected: Hawaii 

Cause: Three days before the eruption, a volcanic crater collapsed which caused lava to pour down the volcano's slopes. This set off a chain of small fissures and earthquakes, eventually leading to a massive eruption. The governor of Hawaii quickly declared a state of emergency. 

On May 25, 2018, a 4.4-magnitude earthquake struck Hawaii near the base of Mount Kilauea, which sent ash from the erupting volcano up to 10,000 feet in the air. 

Another earthquake, one with a 5.5 magnitude, shook the Kilauea summit on June 3, 2018. It was one of 500 quakes in the summit area of the active volcano in a 24-hour period. The 5.5-magnitude quake sent ash up in the air over 8,000 feet.

Officials also announced some residents became stranded in an area cut off by lava. Authorities attempted to evacuate them before the lava spread, but some opted to stay in their homes and were left without power, cell reception, landlines, or county water. Authorities plan to airlift the trapped citizens if the lava spreads.

Damages: More than 1,700 evacuations, 82 structures destroyed, 279 homes destroyed

Deaths: 0