2018 was a year of climate breakdown. Indonesians experienced the worst year of their lives in terms of the volcanic eruption, tsunami and earthquakes that proved to be fatal for their country. The California wildfires of this season was the most destructive and largest on record in the state. It is tough not to notice the environmental changes. Almost every region on the Earth experienced extreme weather conditions or a devastating natural disaster, that took lives of many. It is time to bring awareness to every individual regarding sustainability, or the future might not be long. Here is a look back at the deadliest disasters of 2018:
Papua New Guinea Earthquake
In the middle of the night on February 26, earthquake of magnitude 7.5 hit the Hela Province in Papua New Guinea. The intensity was violent and 160 people died. It was followed by three more aftershocks were felt in the later months of March and April which also led to several deaths. Homes of about 7,000 people were destroyed and over 150,000 people needed urgent emergency supplies including food and clean water.
Pakistan Heat Wave
In the month of May, Karachi, a city in Pakistan, witnessed temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, it coincided with the Muslim festival of Ramadan, wherein they refrain from eating and drinking during the day hours. To make the matters worse, several areas also experienced power cuts. What followed, was the death of more than 65 people.
Guatemala Volcanic Eruption
A catastrophic volcanic eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, on June 3, took lives of 425 people. The villages were evacuated, as people were shocked by clouds of ash and deadly lava flows. The active volcano is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire. It was the deadliest eruption in the country ever since the eruption in 1929.
Torrential rains in Japan in the month of July, led to devastating landslide and earthquake, killing over 220 people. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes, while some took shelter on their rooftops.
In July of 2018, a series of wildfires erupted in Attica, Greece, and took the lives of 100 people. More than 700 people were evacuated, and over 4,000 were affected by it. There was a strong indication that it was arson which led to the fires. Winds with the speed of 75 mph fanned the flames, and the 37 degrees Celsius peak temperature, plus the humidity further fueled the fires.
Heavy rains caused the overflow of Niger River and Benue River in July, which led to flooding in the country for around two weeks. Around 199 people died in the floods. Even though Nigeria suffers from annual flooding, climate change and poor town and housing planning worsened the situation in 2018.
United States Wildfires
In an area of 1,893,913 acres, a total of 8,527 fires burned in the US state of California. The series of large wildfires erupted between mid-July to August, affecting the northern part of the state the most. The Carr Fire – which was the largest, burned 229,651 acres, damaging Shasta and Trinity Counties in California. In November, another series of wildfire erupted across the state. Over 98 civilians died, and 129 million trees were lost. The fires caused more than $3.5 billion (2018 USD) in damages.
North Korea Floods
More than 800 buildings were swept away due to floods in North Korea, at the end of August, and 76 people were reportedly killed. The flooding was caused by heavy rains, and has affected North and South Hwanghae provinces of North Korea the most. It was followed by landslides. It rendered more than thousand people homeless.
Kerala, a southern state of India witnessed the worst floods in almost a century, in the month of August. A million people were evacuated, and 483 people died. The floods were the result of heavy rainfall which was 75% more than the usual rainfall in Kerala. Global warming has been mentioned as one of the reasons for the calamity.
Indonesia Volcanic Eruption and Tsunami
429 people were reported dead in Indonesia after a tsunami swept off western Java and southern Sumatra islands on December 22. There were no early warnings, since the tsunami was a result of volcanic eruption and not a plain earthquake. The country had also witnessed an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 on September 28, which resulted in death of over 2,000.