Top 10 Deadliest Natural Disasters in History

Every year, nearly 100,000 people perish in natural disasters — earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, wildfires and droughts — while over 150 million are impacted by them, worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Violent natural disasters have been a fact of human life since the beginning of mankind, but the death counts of the most ancient of these disasters are lost to history. The ancient Mediterranean island of Thera (now Santorini, Greece), for example, experienced a catastrophic volcanic eruption that eradicated the entire Minoan civilization around 1600 B.C., according to a 2020 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. But exactly how many lives were lost? We’ll never know.

Related: Live Science podcast “Life’s Little Mysteries” 5: Mysterious volcanoes

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