Five of the Worst Natural Disasters of 2013
From quick-striking monster typhoons to slow-onset drought, natural disasters impacted the lives of millions of people around the world in 2013. Here are five of the worst.
Typhoon Haiyan – Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines Nov. 8, killing nearly 6,000 people and displacing more than 3.6 million.
The 13-foot storm surge and up to 235-mph wind gusts largely wiped out coastal cities and destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure, such as roads, water and sanitation systems, and telecommunications lines.
“When you look at the mountains, they look bare and stripped of all vegetation,” Aaron Aspi, a World Vision communications officer, told ABC Radio on November 11 from northern Cebu.
After two months, World Vision had reached more than 526,000 people with emergency food and relief goods. Long-term recovery will focus on restoring shelter and livelihoods to get families back on their feet.
Typhoon Phailin – India
The strongest cyclone to hit India in 14 years, Typhoon Phailin affected the livelihoods of more than 13 million people in the country’s northeast.
Heavy rains and more than 150-mph winds brought widespread devastation. But fewer than 50 people died in the mid-October storm. Governments and aid organizations credited improved disaster preparedness and the early evacuation of about one million of the most vulnerable residents along the coast.
As Phailin approached, World Vision staff had provided megaphones, life jackets, flashlights, and ropes to community leaders, enabling them to warn residents and organize quickly. In the aftermath, the organization distributed emergency food and other supplies to families in Brahmapur, in Odisha state.
Hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid – Mexico
Two separate storms overwhelmed western Mexico with rain in September, triggering widespread flooding and landslides. More than 200,000 people were affected in Guerrero state alone. In Acapulco, five feet of mud overtook vehicles and destroyed homes.
World Vision staff provided families in the Xochistlahuaca and Santa Catarina River communities in Guerrero with food, blankets, and tarps. The long-term response includes clean water, sanitation, and construction materials to help families rebuild their homes, as well as Child-Friendly Spaces to help children recover.
Earthquake – Philippines
Just three weeks before Typhoon Haiyan hit Central Visayas, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake rocked the same region, killing 222 people, displacing 350,000, and damaging or destroying about 73,000 buildings. Thousands of displaced or homeless quake survivors still had not found adequate shelter before Haiyan blew through. World Vision provided affected families with food and basic household supplies.
Tornadoes – United States
A massive tornado, packing 200-mph winds, raked a 12-mile path through the Oklahoma City area May 20, destroying homes and severely damaging two elementary schools. The twister killed 24 people, ABC News reported. The week before, as many as 10 tornadoes touched down in North Texas, killing six.
World Vision provided more than 15,000 affected people with emergency food kits, hygiene kits, cleanup kits, and blankets. Its mobile Teacher Resource Center supplied 156 teachers to serve 2,300 students at four schools in devastated Oklahoma neighborhoods.
As part of a long-term recovery commitment, World Vision is partnering with local churches and organizations to help families rebuild their homes.
Written by Chris Huber
Photo © 2013 Chloe Irvine / World Vision