From earthquakes to floods, it is a known fact that natural disasters are a common phenomenon which affects most countries in the world. While it hit some countries hard and killed thousands of people, its effects are relatively minimal in some other countries.
An earthquake, being one of the major natural disasters in the world, refers to the intense shaking of the surface of the earth due to the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.
A powerful earthquake is capable of killing scores of people, damaging properties, and rendering people homeless. Preventing earthquakes is not possible as it is hard to predict and can happen at any point in time.
About 90% of earthquakes take place in the “ring of fire region”. The “ring of fire” is a path along the ocean characterized by frequent occurrences of earthquakes. It includes the Pacific coasts of North America, South America, Kamchatka, and some islands within the western Pacific Ocean.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that around 500,000 earthquakes occur every year. The largest earthquake ever reported in history happened in China on May 22 1960. It measured a magnitude of 9.5 and is estimated to have killed more than 3,000 people.
The effects of earthquakes include but are not limited to the following: ground shaking, ground rapture, landslide, tsunamis, fires.
In this article, we will look at some of the countries in the world that are prone to earthquakes and natural disasters.
According to Statista.com, the earthquake with the highest death toll worldwide happened in 1976 in Tangshan, China, with a record death toll of 242,000. From 1900–2016, China had the highest number of earthquakes with 157. The majority of the earthquakes happened in the southwest region of the country, where the terrain is highly mountainous. The most recent earthquake that shook China happened on June 1 2022, in Lushan County in Ya’an, Sichuan province, killing four people and leaving 42 others injured.
Indonesia is another earthquake-prone country. The major reason for frequent earthquakes is unconnected to the fact that Indonesia is located in the ring of fire region. In all, more than 150 significant earthquakes occurred in the country between 1900 and 2019.
Iran, which is also known as Persia, is a western Asian country. The country is located in a region of high seismic activity. As a result of the location of Iran in a collision zone, earthquakes in the country have become unavoidable and destructive. The strongest earthquake in Iran occurred on September 16 1978, in the region of Tabas, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale.
Turkey is a transcontinental country located on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia with a small portion southeast of Europe. Turkey is also located in one of the world’s most seismically active spots. An estimated 5.1 million people were affected by the earthquake in Turkey from 1900–2016.
Japan is an island country with a population of 125.5 million people. Earthquakes shook Japan 61 times between 1900 and 2016, killing scores of people in the process. In 1923, a monster earthquake hit Kanto in Japan and led to the deaths of 143,000 people.
Some parts of the west coast of the United States are located in the Pacific ring of fire, which makes the country vulnerable to earthquakes. 41 earthquakes struck the United States from 1900-2016. The largest magnitude to affect the United States of America happened on March 28, 1964 when a magnitude of 9.2 quake struck Prince William Sound in Alaska.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of central and south Asia with over 40 million people. At least 32 cases of earthquakes were reported in Afghanistan between 1900-2016 killing scores and damaging properties in the process. The most recent case of an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude struck the eastern part of the country on June 22, 2022, killing more than one thousand people and leaving scores of others wounded.
Other countries mostly affected by earthquakes include India, Greece, Peru, Mexico, Pakistan, and the Philippines among others.
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