2020 has not been a good year overall and to call it just a bad year would be an understatement. Economically, physically or mentally the year has been a stress on all of us. While most of us are happy that this dreadful year is behind us, here is a look at some of the top natural disasters of 2020 that shook the entire world.

Bush Fires Australia:


The bush fires of early 2020 in Australia ended up being the worst natural disaster till date to have occurred in Australia. Colloquially known as black summer which was previously the worst natural disaster in Australia, the bush fires of 2020 destroyed or burnt more than 46 million acres. The property damage due to the bush fire is unprecedented and easily exceeded the value of 4.4 billion which is the value of property damaged in 2009 Black Saturday fires, the second biggest in history. The bush fire impacted the life of more than 70% of Australia’s population and more than 3 billion animal lives were affected or killed with the majority being reptiles. Such a massive disaster definitely takes up a position in the top 5 natural disasters of 2020 that were unprecedented in recent history.

Locust Swarm attack of India


Swarms of desert locusts invading India a country and destroying crops is not a new event and in fact has become a regular in several parts of Africa in recent years. However, in the year 2020, the climatic conditions were so favorable that huge swarms of locusts reached India via Pakistan creating a havoc and destroyed vast hectares of cropland. What is unique is that the 2020 invasion was the worst locust related natural disaster in past 27 years. What used to be contained generally in the western part of the country, managed to reach the central part of India this year. You can read about the impact or destruction capability of locust swarms in this link This gruesome invasion of the locusts in the Indian subcontinent takes up another position in our top 5 natural disasters of 2020.

Flash Flood Indonesia

In the early hours of 1st Jan 2020, the Indonesian capital of Jakarta experienced one of the worst floods in its history that killed at least 66 people and displaced close to one tenth of a million. This was the worst flood since 2007. The 2 key reasons for this to have occurred is that 1) A substantial portion of Jakarta lies beneath sea level and during high tides water tends to flow into these areas 2) The main reason however was that Jakarta received more than 400 mm of rainfall overnight causing the main rivers of Jakarta to flood. The government even tried using cloud seeding planes to break up the heavy rain but the damage incurred from this one of the first natural disasters of 2020 was already massive. Volcano Eruption – Philippines There were multiple volcano eruptions across the globe n 2020 and one eruption that needs to be specifically highlighted is the eruption of Taal volcano in the Philippines on Jan 12, 2020. The eruption though did not result in loss of human lives, but the amount of ash spewed up by the volcano resulted in evacuating more than 300000 in the nation. Another important factor is that the eruption was accompanied by series of earthquakes. The Philippines institute of volcanology and seismology has recorded that more than 170 earthquakes were felt due to this volcanic eruption and many more that were not felt making this one of the top natural disasters of 2020 that shook the earth in the literal sense too. Also another interesting fact is that it wasn’t until after month on February 14 that the country decide to downgrade the alert level of the volcano. Volcanic eruptions are always a reminder of Mother nature’s fury and that could be realized in the damage accumulated that the island took a while to come out from.



While there may be a debate if a pandemic can be termed a natural disaster, just because of the sheer volume of damage or impact to mankind, I have added the dreadful Covid 19 to this list. There is no journal that has not written about this dreaded Corona virus linked illness. In the recent decades no one must have witnessed any event that has affected people across all continents and one that has almost at once changed the approach to everyday life. Social distancing, masks have become norms in everyday public life now. What started in China towards the end of 2019 lasted throughout the year and is still instilling fear in 2021 with many mutated variants cropping up. Hopefully the many vaccines being developed by the pharma behemoths of the world would be effective and normalcy returns in 2021. Just by the death count of more than 1.8 million as per WHO on Jan 1 2021, the deadly pandemic is the worst natural disaster to have hit mankind in the past few decades.

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