Natural and Man-Made Disasters

Tropical Storms

What have been the deadliest tropical storms in the world?

The deadliest tropical storms are not hurricanes but rather the unnamed “super cyclones” that sweep out of the Bay of Bengal (in the Indian Ocean), striking the densely populated Indian subcontinent. These storms have been known to kill 100,000 people or more. The fatalities numbered more than 300,000 when a 1970 cyclone struck East Pakistan (Bangladesh). That storm is still the deadliest cyclone to hit the region. But more recent Indian cyclones, which usually occur in April through June and September through November, have sometimes reached “super cyclone” status. An April 1991 storm packing 160-mile-per-hour winds and 20-foot waves swept over Bangladesh’s low-lying coastal plain. There was no place for residents to seek shelter from the advancing sea. An estimated 140,000 people perished and 10 million were left homeless. Property damage climbed to more than $2 billion. In October 1999 another devastating cyclone struck the Bay of Bengal region; it was the strongest and deadliest since the 1991 disaster: 10,000 died and more than a million people lost their homes.


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