Top 10 World’s Worst Disasters caused because of Man

The list below tells about those top world’s famous disasters which took place as a result of negligence or human error. While going through all these you will come to know about how these anthropogenic disasters spoiled and snatched the lives of  many people. Not only people suffer these disasters but the nature is also harmed. Here are some disasters which consumed a lot of time to recover some of which are still undergoing the process of recovery.


This disease is known as Minimata disease because it prevailed for the first time in Minimata city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan in 1956. The waste produced from Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory released a large amount of methyl mercury into the sea during period 1932-1968. In turn the toxic spoiled marine food chain made a severe effect on the people. In 1968, it was finally concluded that the toxic mercury dumped by that petrochemical plant is responsible for all deaths and insanity. During this period a new neurological disease got spread called Chisso Minimata Disease.   At last Chisso Cooperation paid 86 million dollars and helped many people financially by 2004 in order to compensate for the cause.


The disaster which originated in USA is known as ‘Nuclear Nightmare’. The failure of Pennsylvania nuclear power plant caused partial nuclear meltdown on March 28, 1979.  This incident did not produce effect at the same instant it occurred but the radiations started prevailing after a few days. All the residents of that place were evacuated to prevent the occurrence of any mishappening. Many animals died and a large number of premature deaths were encountered. Still it is believed that The Three Island Nuclear Reactor near Harrisburg contained 18 billion curies of radiation but the containment structure around it avoided many fatal disasters.



Near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, a big Al-Mishraq state sulfur plant was situated. On 24th June 2003, this sulfur plant caught fire which continued burning for about full one month. This fire released more than 600,000 tons of harmful sulfur dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Each day 21,000 tons of SO2 got exposed in the air. This colorless gas release lead to many respiratory problems, changes in lung’s defences and cardiovascular diseases. Acid rain damaged tree and crops along with corrosion of buildings. Even NASA scientists monitored shocking facts while studying that massive plume of smoke.


Love Canal situated near Niagara Falls, New York is the first Federal Disaster Area due to man-made actions. In 1940’s and 50’s, a local company buried 21,000 tons of toxic industrial waste beneath the ground. It has been found that the waste was full of pesticide residues and chemical weapons research refuse.  During the urbanization of Love Canal, thick clay cap covering the waste dump was damaged and eventually the people residing there started affecting. Inhabitants observed dying vegetation, abnormal odors as well as excess of health tracts. In addition there was also seepage leaking into their yards. This disaster lead to many miscarriages, birth defects to babies, and ill health


During 5th to 9th December 1952, in winters, Londoners experienced a tragic cold weather which was combined with anticyclones. The air at that time became so colder that the London people were not able to sustain without burning coal in their furnaces so as to alleviate the chill.  All around 105,000 people were affected by this killer fog out of which 11,500 faced premature deaths. Smog generated from burning of coal contained sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and soot in it which influenced the visibility to a great extent.  The whole city got descended by black fog.


In the night-time, on 24th March 1989, Joseph Hazelwood named ship captain ran aground on Prince Williams Sound’s Bligh Reef with the American oil tanker, EXXON VALDEZ. Due to this a 53 million drums of crude oil loaded tanker spilled out more than 11 million US gallons of crude oil into the natural coastline of Alaska’s Prince William Sound.  This incident contaminated every individual beach and ecosystem that existed within that huge area. This oil slick killed large number of sea birds, sea otters, killer whales and countless other wildlife. Clean up process was aided by over 12,000 people. The disaster was so intense that 25,000 gallons of oil are still adhered at the affected place.


On the 26th April in 1986, in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, at the Chernobyl plant, explosion of the nuclear power plant occurred. Due the failure of the reactor 4 situated over there, a disaster took place which heavily resulted in the atmospheric release of the cloud of the radioactive material which is 400-fold of the amount of radioactive plum fallout due to Hiroshima Bomb. This disaster affected large parts including Eastern Europe, Western Soviet Union, and Northern Europe. Chernobyl explosion was the only one which had the capability of causing more than 100,000 cancers. Belarus people were the most affected ones. Thyroid cancers, leukemia, heart diseases and birth defects among children were some of diseases which snatched their lives from victims.  Even after this huge explosion two of the reactors were kept in operated mode until 2000.


The Gulf War oil spill began on 23rd January 1991 is one of the most threatening man caused disaster occurred when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.  In order to prevent landing by the U.S. Marines, Hussein ordered Iraqi soldiers to spill oil clouds into Persian Gulf. Over 600 oil wells blew up and the burning continued for seven months. It has been estimated that the slick reached up to 6787 km2 and was 5 inches thick in some of the parts. There existed a llong term effect to the wildlife which somehow disturbed the ecological balance.


Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) tragedy took place due to a pesticide plant built by Union Carbide Cooperation. Around 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) contained in this plant was over heated. This overheating paved the way for release of a heavy gas and other poisonous toxins which resulted in more than 20,000 deaths including permanent disabilities and illness. It is the world’s worst industrial chemical disaster. Blindness, kidney failure and liver damage were the common problems of that time. Due to lack of safety valves, death caught even the people who got panic. Union Carbide, paid 470 million dollars to India government in 1989 for all at once settlement.



On August 6, 1945 that is during the World War II, United States dropped an atom bomb on the cities of Hiroshima in Japan. This bombarding killed one lakh people and injured 66,000 people. Very soon on August 9, 1945 again a bomb was released on Nagasaki which took away the lives of more than 70,000 people. As a result of this war Japan had no option other than surrendering to Allies. Nuclear weapons and radiations coming out them were the main reason behind the sickness of large number of people. This man-made disaster was so destructive that even a thought of it still shiver the people from all around the world.

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