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Top 10 natural disasters since 1935

Flood victims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa carry an injured relative past destroyed fields
Flood victims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa carry an injured relative past destroyed fields (Abdul Majeed Goraya/IRIN)

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the current floods in Pakistan constitute the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. The 10 worst natural disasters in Pakistan in the last 75 years are:



1935 Quetta earthquake: A 7.7 Richter scale earthquake virtually levelled the city of Quetta in the eastern province of Balochistan, then part of British India. Some 60,000 people were killed in one of the deadliest earthquakes to hit South Asia. The epicentre was 4km southwest of the town of Ali Jaan, some 153km from Quetta.



1945 Balochistan earthquake: A 7.8 Richter Scale earthquake hit southwestern Balochistan on 28 November 1945. The epicentre was 98km southwest of the town of Pasni. Apart from massive damage to property, the quake led to a 40-foot tsunami causing the deaths of over 4,000 people.



1950 floods: Monsoon rain in 1950 killed an estimated 2,900 people across the country. Punjab Province, including the city of Lahore, was among the worst hit when the River Ravi flooded. Flooding also affected parts of the southern province of Sindh. Over 100,000 homes were destroyed, leaving around 900,000 people homeless.



1970 East Pakistan cyclone: The Bhola tropical cyclone struck the territory of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on 12 November 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is rated as one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 lost their lives, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. The cyclone also gave rise to unrest which contributed to a civil war and the formation in 1971 of the independent state of Bangladesh.



1974 Kohistan (also known as Hunza) earthquake: A 6.2 Richter Scale quake hit Kohistan and surrounding areas including parts of Swat, Hunza and Kashmir in northern Pakistan and also the Hazara and Swat districts of the then North West Frontier Province on 28 December 1974. About 5,300 people were killed, 17,000 injured and 97,000 affected. Landslides and rockfalls contributed to the damage. Most of the destruction was centred around the village of Pattan, around 160km north of Islamabad, and in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.



2000 drought: At least 1.2 million people in Balochistan were affected by drought, and over 100 died, mostly because of dehydration, according to the government. Millions of animals perished. One of the worst-affected areas was the town of Nushki, close to the border with Afghanistan. The drought lasted over 10 months.



2005 Kashmir quake: A 7.6-Richter scale quake struck the Kashmir region on the India-Pakistan border and parts of northwestern Pakistan on 8 October 2005. According to official figures, at least 73,000 people were killed and more than 3.3 million made homeless. The worst affected areas included Neelum Valley and Bagh District in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Mansehra Division. A massive international relief effort was launched. Work continues today to rebuild damaged infrastructure.



2007 Cyclone Yemyin: At least 380 people were killed in Balochistan, 250 in Sindh and 100 in NWFP as a result of flash floods triggered by Cyclone Yemyin, which struck coastal areas in early July 2007. Some 350,000 people were displaced, 1.5 million affected and more than two million livestock perished.



2010 Hunza Lake disaster: A landslide in January 2010 in Attabad village in Hunza-nagar District in the far north of the country killed 20 people and led to around 40 houses sliding into the Hunza river. Debris from the landslide caused the river to dam, leading to the formation of a large lake which threatened to flood downstream areas. Some 20,000 were forced to leave their homes by June.



2010 floods: The toll so far: 1,600 deaths; over six million affected. Pakistan has sought international help to cope with the catastrophe. Despite mass evacuations, there are fears the death toll will rise as flooding reaches the southern province of Sindh and the risk of water-borne disease outbreaks increases in many areas.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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