Biggest Natural Disasters of 2022: Earthquakes, Snowstorms, Fires and More

TECHNOLOGY

In 2022, the world witnessed a series of major disasters that caused widespread destruction, destroying homes and communities and, in some cases, claiming lives.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest natural disasters in the United States and around the world in 2022:

UNDERWATER VOLCANIC ERUPTION IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN

On January 15, 2022, an undersea volcano erupted in the South Pacific near the island Kingdom of Tonga. The eruption triggered tsunami warnings for the archipelago and even the west coast of the United States.

An umbrella cloud generated by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on January 15, 2022.

An umbrella cloud generated by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on January 15, 2022.
(NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens using GOES imagery courtesy of NOAA and NESDIS)

New Zealand and Australian Defense Force Surveillance flights showed significant damage to homes, roads, water, tanks and other infrastructure along the west coast of Tongatapu. Seismologists said it was one of the biggest eruptions on record since Krakatoa in 1883.

CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE CAUSES TWO LIVES, INJURES 11 OTHERS

FLOODS IN PAKISTAN KILL MORE THAN 1,700 PEOPLE

Record floods hit Pakistan between June and October, washing away thousands of homes and claiming the lives of at least 1,739 people.

Government estimates of damage were at least $30 billion as crops, roads, roads, livestock, bridges, homes, schools and medical facilities were destroyed.

People in Pakistan struggle to cross flooded streets after monsoon rains triggered flash flooding in Hyderabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

People in Pakistan struggle to cross flooded streets after monsoon rains triggered flash flooding in Hyderabad, Pakistan, on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.
(AP photo/Pervez Masih)

Nearly 8 million people were displaced, without a home with adequate health care. Many of them lived outdoors, exposed to diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, dengue fever, severe skin and eye infections, cholera, dog and snake bites – all of which are spreading rapidly amid stagnant floods that authorities say will take several months to subside. 🇧🇷

MASS FIRE IN CALIFORNIA

Though comparatively tame than previous years, a series of wildfires swept across California between January and October. Cal Fire estimates that there were about 7,592 incidents in total, with an estimated 362,271 acres burned and nine deaths. More than 100 structures were damaged and approximately 772 were destroyed.

Firefighters fight wildfire in California.

Firefighters fight wildfire in California.
(Fox News/Jiovanni Lieggi)

STORM ON THE EAST COAST LEAVES 100,000 WITHOUT POWER, AT LEAST 3 DEAD

A northeastern winter storm in January brought blizzard conditions to many areas and left more than 100,000 people without power.

Around the New York City area, snow totals ranged from a few inches in some areas north and west of the city to more than 2 feet on Long Island’s Islip, according to the National Weather Service.

Plow in whiteout, East Squantum St.  during the snowstorm in Quincy, MA on January 29, 2022.

Plow in whiteout, East Squantum St. during the snowstorm in Quincy, MA on January 29, 2022.
(Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Warren, Rhode Island managed over 2 feet, while Norwich, Connecticut finished at nearly two feet. Some areas of Maine and New Hampshire also received more than a foot.

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Suffolk County Police said an elderly man fell into a swimming pool while shoveling snow in Southhold and was pronounced dead after resuscitation attempts failed. Nassau County officials said two men, aged 53 and 75, died at the Syosset Tower while shoveling snow.

EARTHQUAKE IN AFEGANISTA KILL AT LEAST 1036

A massive earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed about 1,036 people and injured at least 1,500 others in June – the deadliest in 2002, when a magnitude 6.1 tremor killed about 1,000 people.

In this photo released by the state Bakhtar news agency, Afghans look at the destruction caused by an earthquake in Paktika province, eastern Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

In this photo released by the state Bakhtar news agency, Afghans look at the destruction caused by an earthquake in Paktika province, eastern Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
(Bakhtar News Agency via AP)

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the country’s Paktika province just 10 months after the chaotic evacuation and departure of most of the international community from the region, complicating efforts to provide relief to the country’s 38 million people.

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The earthquake destroyed hundreds of homes in Paktika, with dozens remaining trapped under rubble. Numerous buildings were also damaged in Khost province.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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