In terms of the cost of human life, the most dangerous natural disasters are often flood related. For example: between 1 million and 4 million were killed when China’s Yellow River flooded in 1931. The same Yellow (or Huang He) River had been responsible for millions more deaths in previous floods, notably one in 1642 and 1887. A storm surge in Bangladesh in 1970 was responsible for up to a half million casualties. Cyclones and tsunamis have often caused storm surges in the region, killing more than 300,000 in India in 1839, and approximately 230,000 in 2004. The surges themselves can be caused by undersea earthquakes, as in 2004, or by dams bursting after especially heavy rains. One reason why these disasters are so dangerous is because they are almost always followed by drought, famine, and disease epidemics.
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As far as casualties caused by natural disasters in recent human history, earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti have a far-reaching effect.
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