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A Timeline: Deadliest Earthquakes Recorded Worldwide In Last Decade

In December 2004, the deadliest 9.15 magnitude earthquake hit off Sumatra causing a wild tsunami that ravaged the island of Indonesia, also impacting India.

Rest of the World News
| Written By
Zaini Majeed
Turkey earthquake


As more than 2,200 people lost their lives and thousands of others were injured in Turkey and northwest Syria's worst earthquakes since almost a century, flattening residential complexes to the ground and piling leveled-to-the-ground infrastructure debris, memories of some of the deadliest earthquakes recorded in history were invoked on Monday.

Two powerful earthquakes, measuring magnitude 7.8 and magnitude 7.7 jolted Ankara and Damascus several hours apart as weather warnings were activated in more than a dozen provinces in eastern Turkey.

With its epicenter in the Gaziantep province of Turkey, the powerful earthquake that hit early Monday morning sent several aftershocks over the last 12 hours across the region. The freezing mark of 5 to 8 degrees Celsius temperature below the average hampered the search and rescue operation as first responders scoured the rubble to pull out the trapped victims or the families of the disaster survivors in need of rescue. 10 Turkish cities of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Kilis, and Diyarbakir were completely destroyed, Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu briefed at a press conference. 

“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage," Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile noted in an address, emphasizing that he had put to work several rescue and disaster management teams to provide immediate assistance in areas that were hit. 

The scenes of agony, death, and destruction that resembled a war zone in Turkey and conflict-ridden Syria were a recollection of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that had struck southern Haiti recently in 2021. The quake had claimed 2,200 lives and crumbled hundreds of thousands of homes. Here are some of the deadliest and most powerful earthquakes in the last 2-decades that wreaked unimaginable trauma, devastating the population that fell under its unimaginable impact. 

Afghanistan earthquake of June 2022

A powerful magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan in June 2022,  killing more than 1000 people, the state-run Bakhtar News Agency reported the calamity. Four districts of Paktika province were the worst hit in the country's eastern province. Scores of houses were damaged. The earthquake that struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost in southeastern Afghanistan and was at a depth of 51 km was followed by land sliding in Paktika.

Tremors were felt over a range of some 500 km by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan as well as India, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). Rescuers arrived in a helicopter to search for the survivors. The earthquake hit overnight at around 1.30 a.m. local time and was recorded as the deadliest since the earthquake in Haiti. 

Haiti earthquake of August 2021

A deadly 7.2 magnitude earthquake, the worst disaster since the 2010 earthquake, caused a trail of destruction in Haiti, collapsing civilian infrastructure, schools, and hospitals. As per UNICEF's estimate, more than half a million children were affected and 2,200 people were dead. Nearly 13,000 homes were destroyed. 

Indonesia earthquake of September 2018

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the island of Sulawesi which led to a 1.5 meter tsunami. The massive wave swept away homes and people mounting a death toll of 4,300. 

Iran earthquake of 2017

Iranian cities were rocked by a deadly 7.3 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in the eastern Kermanshah region. The disaster claimed more than 400 lives and at least six were dead in neighbouring Iraq.

Mexico earthquake of 2016

At least 369 were dead and several others were injured in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that jolted central Mexico. Civilian infrastructure sustained damages and the calamity was known as the worst since the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands in Latin American countries. 

Italy and Ecuador earthquakes in 2016

300 were dead in Italy after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake rocked communities settled in the east of Rome in central Italy. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake, meanwhile killed more than 650 people on Ecuador's Pacific coast.

Afghanistan and Nepal's earthquake in 2015

A powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake jolted Kathmandu, killing 9000 people in April and affecting nearly eight million population. The same year in October, the Afghan northeast was jolted by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake same as Turkey and Syria, killing some 400 people.

China's earthquake in 2014 and Pakistan's earthquake of 2013

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit southwestern China. Nearly 600 people were left dead in Yunnan province. Two earthquakes measuring 7.7 and 6.8 magnitude hit Pakistan a year before killing 825 with an epicenter in the southwestern Balochistan province.

Iran earthquake of 2012

A 6.4 magnitude and 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked the city of Tabriz in northwestern Iran killing 300. 

Turkey, New Zealand, and Japan's earthquake of 2011

In October 2011, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked southeast Turkey, claiming nearly 600 lives. Earlier that year in March, the most powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan's northeast causing a tsunami that killed 15,690 in the worst disaster since Chornobyl in 1986. More than 5,700 were wounded. In February, New Zealand was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter in Christchurch. Almost 180 were dead. 

Chile and Haiti earthquake of 2011

An 8.8 magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami in Chile killed more than 500.  Thousands of buildings and civilian infrastructure crumbled, as well as the highways and roads, collapsed in February. A month before, a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince killing 316,000. In the worst disaster in Haiti, nearly 80,000 buildings were destroyed as per the United Nations. 

India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lankan earthquakes in 2004

In December 2004, the deadliest 9.15 magnitude earthquake hit off Sumatra causing a wild tsunami that ravaged the island of Indonesia and impacted India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The disaster caused total destruction of homes and mounted huge loss of lives. 230,000 were dead or were missing in the 2004 tsunami triggered by the earthquake. 

India and Pakistan earthquake of 2005

A deadly 7.6 magnitude earthquake jolted the northeast of Islamabad and the Indian state of Kashmir. The disaster caused 73,000 deaths in Pakistan and 1,244 deaths in India.  

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