Business, Economics and Jobs

World's worst disasters 2012, fires to floods to famine (VIDEO)


Workers clear a road with a fallen tree after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern island of Mindanao on December 4, 2012. More than 40,000 people crammed into shelters to escape the onslaught of the strongest cyclone to hit the country this year.


Ted Ajibe

If you’re looking for your next vacation destination, avoid these unfortunate locations.

A deadly typhoon in the Philippines is just the latest natural disaster to strike our globe this year.

Here’s a look at some of the most devastating events from 2012. Consider this a list of cities and regions Mother Nature hates most.


More than 300 people died and thousands more left homeless or injured after two earthquakes hit Iran within 11 minutes of each other in August. To make matters worse, dozens of villages in the East Azerbaijan province faced an estimated 50 aftershocks. Situated on fault lines, this year’s temblor was nothing compared to the 2003 quake that left 40,000 dead in the Iranian city of Bam.


More than 35,000 people fled as fire destroyed 350 homes and killed two people this year near Colorado Springs. The Waldo Canyon fire came weeks after another blaze razed more than 250 homes north of Denver. The Denver Post’s tally estimates six fatalities and 200,000 acres burned with an estimated economic impact of more than $200 million.


An estimated 23 people died in six Kentucky counties alone when tornadoes ripped through the Ohio Valley and the Southern US this March. The National Weather Service said it was ideal conditions for prolonged twisters, with one tornado remaining on the ground for 95 miles while another cut a nearly 50-mile swath of destruction.


More than 300 are dead, largely from floods, as Typhoon Bopha hits the Philippines this week. This is the 16th deadly typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, and experts say at least one more will land before Christmas. Last December, 1,200 people died from flooding.

New York/New Jersey 

With a death toll near 200 in the US and Caribbean, Sandy wasn’t technically a hurricane to some, but for those who lost their homes, that’s all just semantics. President Barack Obama said today he’s going to ask Congress for $50 billion in disaster relief, although New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have said they need $85 billion. NJ Gov. Chris Christie says Sandy damaged 72,000 homes in his state.

US drought/Sahel crisis 

Even as winter arrives in much of the US, drought still plagues many American states. Not even storms from Sandy could whet the appetites of US farmers, who are experiencing the worst drought in 25 years and one of the 10 worst ever in US history. In Africa, drought combined with rising food prices and geopolitical instability threatens 16 million people from Senegal in the west to Chad in the east.


About 125 soldiers patrolling the “world’s highest battlefield” and 11 civilians died in April when an avalanche swept down the Siachen Glacier near the Pakistani-Indian border. Rescuers needed to uncover bodies buried beneath 120 feet of snow high in the Kashmir Mountains.

Saudi Arabia/Jordan 

Five are dead from a mysterious outbreak of the novel coronavirus happening now in the Middle East. Nine total cases of the virus that’s genetically linked to SARS appeared in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. It’s worrisome enough for the World Health Organization to issue a global alert in September.

More from GlobalPost: Death toll climbing as Typhoon Bopha hits Philippines