Statistics On Key Disaster Types Created by Nature And Man...


On average, over 258 million people are affected by natural disasters worldwide for each of the last ten years. That's almost the entire population of the U.S.!

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes

  • The U.S. Geological Survey that monitors global earthquakes on a daily basis quantifies the number of annual earthquakes at 3 million-that's on average, 8,000 per day or one every 11 seconds!
  • Most of the damage caused by an earthquake results from the triggering of very destructive tsunamis, avalanches, landslides, and man-made structures falling on people-not the earth shaking itself.
  • Globally, over 10,000 people die from an earthquake each year.
  • Of the Earth's earthquakes, 80% occur along the "rim" of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Ring of Fire" which contains some 450 volcanoes representing 76% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes.
  • At least 775,000 Americans live near a volcano.
  • The highly populated area of southern California has about 10,000 earthquakes a year but fortunately, almost all of these are only small tremors.
  • Alaska has the greatest number earthquakes in the U.S. with the "Ring of Fire" passing through the Aleutian Islands. This area has at least one earthquake over magnitude of 7.0 every year for the past 15 years with the greatest earthquake occurring with a magnitude of 9.2 centered in Prince William Sound in 1964.
  • An earthquake under the Indian Ocean triggered a series of tsunamis the day after Christmas in 2004 which killed over 150,000 people the first day with the final worldwide total over 285,000 in 11 countries. Scientist estimated that the responsible earthquake under the ocean had an energy level of 23,000 atomic bombs. These tsunami waves:
    • Reached 100 feet in height,
    • Were 60 miles long and spaced one hour apart,
    • Traveled as far away as 3,000 miles with little loss in energy,
    • Penetrated the shoreline up to 1,000 feet inland.
    • Reached speeds over 500 mph. (You can't outrun one even in a car or a small plane!)
  • Hawaii is the most at risk of a tsunami, averaging one every year with a destructive one each 7 years. The West Coast of the U.S. suffers one bad tsunami every 18 years.

Earthquake Disasters

Tsunami Disasters

Volcano Disasters

Heat Waves

  • Given the myth that weather related disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes are the most dangerous natural disasters, heat waves actually kill more people than any other type of natural disaster. In the U.S, over a 1,000 people per year die and over the past 40 years, almost 20,000! Global figures are significantly higher in emerging economies.
  • Heat wave risk profiles are highest for young children, seniors, and people with breathing challenges, and men who perspire more than women and dehydrate faster.
  • The most dangerous heat wave disasters areas are highly populated urban zones where "temperature inversions" are occurring allowing atmospheric pollution levels to build up.
  • The generation of "urban heat islands" is common which results from heat retention caused by asphalt streets, parking lots, and concrete structures.

Heat Wave Disasters

Winds--Tornados and Hurricanes (Also called tropical cyclones)

  • Tornadoes can occur ANYWHERE in the U.S.
  • Their average surface footprint ranges from 250 to 11,000 feet in diameter with wind speeds between 100 to 300 miles per hour.
  • The Atlantic Ocean averages 5-6 hurricanes each year during the months of August thru October.
    • Hurricanes can span between 138-550 miles in diameter,
    • Have respective wind speeds ranging between 75-155+ miles per hour,
    • Ocean storm surges of 18+ feet,
    • Energy releases can reach that of a 10 megaton nuclear bomb every 20 minutes.
  • U.S. deaths have exceeded 15,000 since 1979.
  • U.S. damages since 1979 has exceeded $157 billion (unadjusted for inflation).

Tornado Disasters

Hurricane Disasters


  • In the U.S., droughts have exceeded the individual damages caused by some of the worst hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes.
  • A draught in Africa in from 1984 to1985 led to famine which killed 750,000 people.
  • Draughts seem to be encompassing more land mass and population each year.
  • The Bible records one of the worst draughts in history in ancient Egypt which lasted for 7 years. (But, they prepared 7 years in advance for the predicted draught and avoided massive famine.)

Draught Disasters


  • In North, South, and Central America, 46% of disaster deaths are due to floods.
  • From 1900 to 2010, the U.S. alone has lost 10,000 lives to national floods.
  • In 1993, the Mississippi River flooded an area 500 miles long and 200 miles wide destroying 50,000 homes and farms and 12,000 square miles of rich farmland soil by severe erosion.

Flood Disasters

Landslides, Snow Avalanches, and Mudslides

  • Land and mudslides can reach average speeds of 10 mph and have exceeded 35 mph causing $3.5 billion in damages and killing 25-50 people each year in the U.S. alone.
  • Over 250,000 snow and earth avalanches occur each year in the Swiss Alps of Europe but France has recorded more avalanche fatalities than any country for the past decade!
  • Most snow and earth avalanches in the U.S. are on the West Coast but Alaska holds the record for the most recorded fatalities of all of the states.

Winter Storm Disasters

Lightning Storms

  • Lightning strikes the Earth over 100,000 times a day!
  • 15% of these strikes cause forest and grass fires.
  • 4 out of every 5 wildfires are caused by careless people or arsonists resulting in the destruction of 1.2 million acres of U.S forests and rangeland each year.

Thunderstorm Disasters

From the natural disaster digest above, you can see that we all live on a very beautiful but very dangerous planet. Multiple disasters are in play around the world almost daily and your chances of avoiding all of them in your lifetime are pretty slim. And, this doesn't include the man-made disasters that affect or will affect most all of us in some way directly or indirectly.



Terrorism and How It All Evolved

Terrorism is the new warfare for the 21st Century. In a brief summary, not too long after the end of the Korean War, the Cold War began between the only two global empires-- the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. After several decades these two powers reached a stalemate situation brought on by the prospect of nuclear war with both sides rapidly escalating the inventory of nuclear submarines and nuclear ICBMs--both able to deliver nuclear bombs by land or sea. This stalemate was best known as MAD--Mutually Assured Destruction. In essence, it meant that if either country launched a nuclear attack on the other, a reciprocal response was assured and thus both nations would quite likely be totally destroyed. No winners would result.

Then the U.S.S.R., without warning, suddenly self-destructed economically, governmentally, militarily, and financially in three days and became a third world power almost overnight. It was unbelievable. With only one superpower left standing--the United States, the world gave a sign of relief. But, it was short lived.

At the time, most in the world thought no more MAD--peace at last without threats. But, there were a number of deep thinkers in the CIA that shuddered at the thought of what would likely be coming over the horizon--guerrilla warfare under the name of terrorism launched by smaller nations seeking power, global influence, and resources. Most of these countries lacked warfare equipment of enough scale or sophistication to be a worthy opponent of the U.S., but what these small countries did have is an intense hatred based on religious dogma or ethic cultural that could be used to foment hatred and action towards Western powers or neighbors as well as internally within the former Soviet Union. Within the remaining core of the Soviet Union, some countries had been captured and made part of that empire against their will and those citizens sought to return to their original sovereign state. Often the core of the Soviet Union resisted this not wanting to see any more disintegration of their union.

Depending upon the host country being attached, different reasons were usually involved but similar methods of guerilla warfare began to be carried out emanating from many of these third world countries and small bodies of men using mines, TNT explosives, small arms, hostage taking, cold blooded slaughter of innocents, ethnic cleansing, and assassinations. These small groups of fighters used appalling guerrilla tactics to instill fear in the populace who hopefully would call upon their governments to meet the demands of the terrorists.

It is not practical to try and quantify the number of terrorism events by type and number even before the breakup of the Soviet Union. What is obvious is that governments and populations have recognized this alarming increase in the number of terrorist events globally and have been putting a great deal of money and education into curtailing these attempts. The deterrent costs are enormous, especially in the U.S. But, of course this is all part of the terrorists' purpose and it works well. Terrorists intend to cause terror events with great enough impact and quantity to cause a government to spend great sums of money and resources to burden the institutions and their populations hoping to eventually collapse the society or have them capitulate to some declared objective.

Some of these methods below have already been deployed by terrorists and remain popular with terrorist groups. Some of the others mentioned remain a viable threat of being used and are briefly discussed here with more in depth coverage in the various subject areas of this site.

Types of Terrorism Disasters

The following 4 types have been the most common form of terrorism:
  • Threats or Destruction of National Infrastructures
  • Disruption of Transportation Facilities and Function
  • Destruction of Government Facilities and Support Systems
  • Murdering Government Officials and High Profile People.

This next group of terrorism methods has, fortunately, had limited use but primarily because the terrorist teams have been unable to capture or develop these technologies and deploy them but they are trying hard to acquire. It is only a matter of time before they can achieve one of these objectives and precautions should be made by individuals if you are in a risk environment.

  • Bio-Terrorism
  • It has been acknowledged that deadly pathogens exist in labs of the U.S. and Russia for certain and China in all likelihood. Other labs of large countries also have probably been engineering these deadly threats.

    The concern is the security of these pathogens in the various laboratories of the world including China, Iran, North Korea, etc. Many of these labs are not that secure.

    Dr. Gary North and Dr. Arthur Robinson have both said that any biology PhD with 5 MBA research assistants, and $50,000 of military or scientific surplus equipment could make a deadly pathogen in less than six months that could be distributed to a half dozen cities and released. The implementers could be out of the country before the pandemic could be recognized by authorities to try and contain it if at all possible. All it takes is enough money to bribe the right people to create a deadly pathogen--someone financially desperate, an religious idealog, someone that is intent of revenge, or someone that is just plain evil.

  • Nuclear Terrorism
  • Chemical Terrorism

Financial Disasters

There is growing danger that increases each month for various counties to be hit by an internal financial disaster. The U.S. suffered one back in 2006-8 and it appears that all of the efforts by central banks and governments both in the U.S. and globally are not being successful at restoring financial equilibrium and sanity to the marketplace. The poor are getting poorer and the middle class is being wiped out as wealth is being transferred from the West to the East. The European Common Market experiment is about to collapse unless each member is willing to give up their sovereignty--and that doesn't look likely.

Currently, (5/20/2003) investors and hedge funds rush from stocks to bonds to precious metals and back again based on any rumor or central banker's spoken words. Investors are desperate. It is total insanity to be investing in just about anything today--all of the financial manipulations being used to get us back to normal economic cycles has broken the free market from many people's perspective causing misallocation of capital, the creation once again of investment "bubbles", and large financial losses.

From Zero Hedge 5/23/2013:

"As markets continue to confound, it is useful to reflect on this quote from Jim Sinclair--"The world has taken on a 'virtual reality' with no reference to what really is. This is the biggest market power play of smoke and mirrors in history. It is happening because the financial system is in a terminal state of broken."

  • Sovereign Failures or Defaults
  • The failure of a national government via financial default is becoming problematic in a number of countries of southern Europe at this date and many more are predicted to come.

  • Stock Market Failures
  • Everyday we hear of "flash crashes" occurring in some country's stock index, precious metals, or bonds. Many of these types of crashes are the result of high frequency, trading computer programs call "algos" short for algorithms which are not certified by governments but usually operated by hedge funds and large banks. The regular Joe has no business trying to compete against these types of "expert system" class software platforms.

  • Economic Failures
  • Keynesian economic thought rules the day. A model that suggests you can spend yourself rich and out of trouble. Politicians love the idea because it gives them a blank check to create massive deficits via uncontrolled spending. Central bankers love it because they can print as much fiat money as they want to put off their mismanagement of the economy. We predict this will not end well globally. Someday the checks will bounce and the cascade.

  • Banking Failures
  • Several have already occurred in the U.S. since 2006 and several more have occurred in Europe--Cyprus, Iceland, and Ireland just to name a few. The change in accounting principles is all that keeps many of the world's banks solvent in the eyes of the investors and governments but it is a guise of what is really under the hood.

Warfare Disasters

  • Conventional Modern Warfare
  • Fortunately, few modern wars or "police actions" have occurred in the last decade. The largest, most recent was between the U.S. and Iraq on two occasions and Afghanistan with an initial operation and then a follow-up action after the second Iraq war. Global wars like WWII have not occurred even though Korea and Vietnam were resource intensive conflicts.

    The U.S. has North Korea and Iran to keep an eye on. Things are reaching a boiling point between the Islamic states and Israel over Iran's getting a nuclear bomb and Syria's civil war spilling over in the region. China and Japan are quarrelling over a couple of islands but that is simmering down, hopefully.

  • Nuclear Warfare
  • Low probability today. Russia and China are trading partners. North Korea is the most problematic but true nuclear provocation from them would quite likely be brief with the elimination of their state.

  • EMP Warfare (Electro-magnetic-pulse)
  • EMP radiation is created either as the result of a nuclear explosion or my other non-nuclear methods. Although the electric field created from an EMP lasts for only a short time, its effects can be devastating on electrical equipment that is active.

    It is predicted that a single high altitude burst 200 miles above Nebraska could generate an EMP enveloping the entire United States.

    Certainly a possibility for any country attacking another is to trash all of their operational equipment that relies on electricity. This is quite feasible for a smaller equipped country like Iran or North Korea to use on any country. Why the U.S. government and military hasn't given more attention to defending against this prospect is a mystery to us. A device can be made without being nuclear based. A basic rocket launched from sea outside of territorial waters could certainly do the trick.

  • Electronic Cyber Warfare
  • This is the new battlefront for all nations and terrorists alike. The U.S. is just now addressing this threat militarily and corporate-wise but many of the horses have already left the barn and who knows what Trojans and viruses have been quietly embedded in corporate, government, infrastructure, and military systems awaiting their being triggered at the opportune time.

  • Chemical/Biological Warfare
  • Currently as of this posting, Syria has been accused of using chemical Saran gas on their own people in their civil war even with warnings from the Western nations. Other countries like Israel have prepared their citizens for such an attack either at the state or terrorist level by supplying their population with suitable gas masks.

    Russian scientists, before their country collapsed had been working on all manner of antibiotic resistant diseases like smallpox as well as other poisons and toxins. They are known to exist in both the U.S., China, and Russia.

Now that we have provided a framework to classify types of man-made disasters, study this global terrorism map for 2013 provided by the AON Corporation. They have undertaken the task of assessing each country's terrorism and political risks relative to others. It is nice that they offer to share the "big pictures" with the public.

It is color coded and you can zoom in or out and navigate up and down or left and right using the link to their site. This visual analytics map also allows you to just look at political unrest and instability or terror risk and to break this down as to whether it is increasing or decreasing. Additionally, there is a PDF version of this map but with limited navigation abilities.

As you can easily see, there are very few countries where the threat levels are low.

Terrorism Risk Map

With all of the above types of disasters and sub-types, there are two critical resources required to live through ANY of them--food and water. Humans without safe water to drink and proper food to eat have a limited time for survival whether they are in a disaster situation or not.

The following page highlights some time windows that a person faces should either their water or food supply become unavailable for a brief period of time. These single two resources are the most crucial elements of survival


Reuters Foundation
AON Corporation: Terrorism Map
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
National Geographic
United States Department of Homeland Security
Virginia Department of Forestry
Haines Index to Hotspot
National Weather Service
Times Online
National Earthquake Information Center
Weather Wiz Kids
American Red Cross
Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness
Disaster Center
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Science News

Additional Links