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Top 8 deadliest earthquakes of the Century

April 28, 2015 11:20 AM |

Earthquake 1


An earthquake is a natural disaster that can occur anytime and anywhere. They take place due to the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust, leading to seismic waves. The destruction left by an earthquake increases when it is followed by tsunamis, avalanches, landslides and fires.

Haiti, 2010

Death toll- 316,000; Magnitude 7.0

Haiti Earthquake

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On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale shook Haiti. It caused immense damage to life and property. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, the material damage was approximately 13.2 billion dollar.

China, 1976

Death toll- 255,000; Magnitude 8.2

China earthquake

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This tragedy occurred on July 28, 1976 in Tangshan, Hebei. This 8.2 magnitude lasted for about 10 seconds but killed 255,000 people. It brought huge devastation of 10 billion Yuan or 1.3 billion dollar.

Off the west coast of northern Sumatra, 2004

Death toll- 230,000; Magnitude 9.1

Sumatra quake








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A massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. It left around 230,000 people dead. About 1.7 million people were displaced by the earthquake and tsunamis which followed in 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa.

China, 2008

Death toll- 87,587; Magnitude 7.9

China 2008

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On May 12, 2008, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan in China. It claimed the lives of 87,587 people and injured about 375,000 people. The quake left more than 5 million homeless. The total damage was estimated to be 86 billion dollar.

Pakistan, 2005

Death toll- 80,361; Magnitude 7.6

Pakistan quake

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A 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook Pakistan on October 8, 2005. It killed 80,361 and injured more than 69,000 people. India and Afghanistan were also affected by the quake.

Iran, 2003

Death toll- 31,000; Magnitude 6.6


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On December 26, 2003, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake killed around 31,000 people in southeastern part of Iran. The quake injured 30,000 and left 75,600 people homeless.

Japan, 2011

Death toll- 15,878; Magnitude 9.03

Japan quake

Image credit- Amanda Balkhi

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of 9.03 magnitude occurred off the east coast of Tohoku in Japan. It was the strongest one to ever hit Japan. It caused destruction that claimed 15,878 lives and left 6,126 injured. Reportedly, it collapsed around 129,225 buildings.

Chile, 1960

Death toll- 4,485; Magnitude 9.5

Earthquake 1960

Image credit- wikipedia

On May 22, 1960, one of the most powerful earthquakes of the world left about 4,485 people dead. Around 2 million people were left homeless after it struck southern Chile. The ensuing tsunami destroyed the port of Puerto Saavedra, causing damage of worth 550 million dollar in Chile.

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