In light of the tragedy that has wrought devastation in Türkiye and Syria, RT looks at the most powerful seismic events of recent years.
The destructive effects of earthquakes are from landslides, tsunamis, fires, and fault rupture. The violent shaking of the ground produces the greatest property losses and personal injuries.
The earthquake that hit Türkiye on Monday killed more than 1,000 people and left over 5,000 injured, prompting Ankara to describe it as the most destructive the nation had seen in decades. The disaster was not confined to Türkiye, however, as Syria has confirmed hundreds dead and many injured.
RT looks at the most tragic earthquakes seen so far this century.2004: Indian Ocean horror
The early 2000s saw a spate of devastating earthquakes. In December 2004, a quake with a magnitude of 9.3, the third most powerful one ever recorded, struck with an epicenter just off the western coast of Indonesia.
The jolt provoked a giant 30-meter-high tsunami that devastated communities along the coasts of the Indian Ocean, killing a total of 227,898 people in 14 countries, thus making it the deadliest natural disaster recorded in history. In addition to the massive death toll, infrastructure was destroyed and economic activity was disrupted throughout coastal regions such as Indonesia’s Aceh and India’s Tamil Nadu provinces. The earthquake was so powerful that it even triggered smaller seismic events as far away as Alaska.2010: Catastrophe in the Caribbean
In January 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. The epicenter was located near the town of Leogane, just 25km away from the capital of Port-au-Prince.
Aftershocks caused by the quake continued for almost two weeks and included at least 52 smaller tremors measuring 4.5 or greater. The disaster affected some 3 million people. The Haitian government also said that the calamity claimed around 220,000 lives. About 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings were destroyed, while major damage was caused to Port-au-Prince and several other cities.
2011: Worst disaster since Chernobyl
In March 2011, an undersea megathrust earthquake struck with an epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, some 72km east of Japan. Having a magnitude of 9.1, it was the second most powerful earthquake of the 21st century and the fourth biggest ever recorded since modern record-keeping practices were established in 1900.
The earthquake claimed the lives of more than 19,700 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. A tsunami caused by the quake led to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, which has been described as the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986. Three of the Japanese facility’s reactors melted down, leading to a discharge of radioactive water in the area surrounding the plant. Residents within a 20km radius of the Fukushima plant were evacuated. The estimated economic damage from the event amounted to $235 billion, according to the World Bank, making it the costliest disaster in history.2008: ‘Great Sichuan earthquake’
In May 2008, a powerful earthquake struck the province of Sichuan in southwestern China. Having a magnitude of 8.0, the quake caused the largest number of geohazards ever recorded, including some 200,000 landslides. It was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Thailand and Vietnam.
The disaster claimed over 80,000 lives and left almost 5 million people homeless, making it the deadliest earthquake in China since 1976.2005: Kashmir earthquake
In October 2005, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the western part of the Kashmir region administered by Pakistan, as well as some areas of the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir territories. The disaster claimed the lives of 86,000 people and left just as many injured, while millions were displaced. The catastrophe is considered the deadliest in South Asia.