Top 5 most devastating earthquakes: From Sichuan to Haiti, latest in Turkey and Syria

Throughout history, many formidable earthquakes have resulted in untold casualties and devastated communities. Here are the top five deadliest earthquakes in history.

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Earthquakes, as one of the most powerful forces of nature, have the ability to bring about extensive destruction and loss of life.

Throughout history, many formidable earthquakes have resulted in untold casualties and devastated communities.

From massive quakes in China and India to devastating tsunamis in Indonesia and Japan, these events have left a lasting impact on the world and serve as a sobering reminder of nature’s wrath.

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The latest earthquake hit Turkey and Syria early Monday morning with tremors felt across the region in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Greece.

Here are the top 5 most devastating earthquakes of all time:

1. The Great Sichuan Earthquake, 2008

Rescuers search for victims at a collapsed school building after an earthquake in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province May 12, 2008. (Reuters)
Rescuers search for victims at a collapsed school building after an earthquake in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province May 12, 2008. (Reuters)

This disaster struck the Sichuan province in China on May 12, 2008, resulting in a magnitude 8.0 quake that caused widespread destruction and loss of life.

With over 800,000 fatalities and 375,000 injuries, many buildings, including schools and hospitals, were damaged or completely destroyed, leaving tens of thousands homeless. The earthquake also triggered landslides and cut off road and communication networks, which posed major challenges for rescue and relief efforts.

2. Haiti Earthquake, 2010

A woman reacts near destroyed buildings after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 13, 2010. (Reuters)
A woman reacts near destroyed buildings after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 13, 2010. (Reuters)

This catastrophic event happened in Haiti on January 12, 2010, with a magnitude of 7.0. The quake caused widespread devastation in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, resulting in over 220,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries.

Many buildings, including homes, schools, and hospitals, were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. The quake also caused widespread panic and chaos as people struggled to find food, water, and medical care in the aftermath.

3. Sumatra earthquake and tsunami, 2004

A man inspects what is left of his home after a massive tsunami wave swept across coastal Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004. (Reuters)
A man inspects what is left of his home after a massive tsunami wave swept across coastal Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004. (Reuters)

This massive natural disaster struck the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, on December 26, 2004, resulting in a 9.1-magnitude earthquake which triggered a massive tsunami that affected several countries in the Indian Ocean region.

With over 230,000 fatalities in 14 countries, it remains one of the deadliest tsunamis in recorded history. The tsunami caused widespread destruction along the coast, wiping out entire villages and damaging critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and communication networks.

4. Iran Bam earthquake, 2003

An ariel view shows the extent of earthquake damage in Bam, Iran, December 27, 2003. (Reuters)
An ariel view shows the extent of earthquake damage in Bam, Iran, December 27, 2003. (Reuters)

With a magnitude of 6.6, this natural disaster struck the city of Bam in Iran on December 26, 2003.

The earthquake resulted in widespread destruction and loss of life, with over 26,000 fatalities and 30,000 injuries.

The quake caused widespread damage to the city, destroying or severely damaging many buildings, including homes and historical structures. The aftermath also saw widespread panic and chaos as people struggled to find food, water, and medical care.

5. India-Nepal earthquake, 2015

People carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, which was trapped in the debris after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. (Reuters)
People carry the body of a victim on a stretcher, which was trapped in the debris after an earthquake hit, in Kathmandu, Nepal April 25, 2015. (Reuters)

This catastrophic natural disaster struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, with a magnitude of 7.8.

The earthquake caused widespread destruction and loss of life, with over 9,000 fatalities and 22,000 injuries in Nepal and over 200 deaths in India.

The India-Nepal earthquake of 2015 remains one of the deadliest earthquakes in recent history and its impact is still felt in Nepal today.

Latest Turkey-Syria earthquake 2023

People search through rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. (Reuters)
People search through rubble following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey February 6, 2023. (Reuters)

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling buildings and killing at least 360 people.

With hundreds injured, the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched the rubble in cities and towns across the area.

Felt as far away as Cairo, the quake struck a region that has been shaped by more than a decade of civil war in Syria.

The earthquake was centered about 90 kilometers from the Syrian border outside the city of Gaziantep, a major Turkish provincial capital.

At least 20 aftershocks followed, some hours later during daylight, the strongest measuring 6.6, Turkish authorities said.

The earthquake was also felt in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Cyprus, according to several news reports.

Turkey sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Around 18,000 were killed in powerful earthquakes that hit northwest Turkey in 1999.

Read more:

Earthquake leaves at least 230 dead in Syria

Major earthquake in Turkey kills at least 284, over 2,000 injured: Official

Turkey, Syria earthquake felt in Lebanon, Jordan, Israel

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