The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture, started primarily by the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake on 11 March 2011. Immediately after the earthquake, the active reactors automatically shut down their sustained fission reactions. However, the ensuing tsunami flooded the emergency generators that were providing power to the pumps that cooled the reactors. The coolant loss led to three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen-air explosions, and the release of radioactive material in Units 1, 2 and 3 between 12 and 15 March. Coolant loss also raised concerns over the recently loaded spent fuel pool of Reactor 4, which increased in temperature on 15 March due to decay heat from the freshly added spent fuel rods but did not boil down to exposure.
The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is considered to be the world's worst industrial disaster. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. The highly toxic substance made its way into and around the small towns located near the plant.
The 2011 Joplin tornado was a catastrophic EF5-rated multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, late in the afternoon of Sunday, May 22, 2011. It was part of a larger late-May tornado outbreak and reached a maximum width of nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) during its path through the southern part of the city. This particular tornado was unusual in that it intensified in strength and grew larger in size at a very fast rate. The tornado tracked eastward across the city, and then continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper County and Newton County. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. It is also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and sometimes referred to as the Great Famine or The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33. It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country. During the Holodomor, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.
The Kyshtym disaster was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak, a plutonium production site in Russia for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel reprocessing plant of the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), making it the third-most serious nuclear accident ever recorded, behind the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl disaster. The event occurred in Ozyorsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, a closed city built around the Mayak plant, and spread hot particles over more than 20,000 square miles (52,000 km2), where at least 270,000 people lived. Since Ozyorsk/Mayak was not marked on maps, the disaster was named after Kyshtym, the nearest known town.
The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. With the greatest impacted areas to the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was primarily spoken, the period was contemporaneously known as in Irish: An Drochshaol, loosely translated as the hard-times. The worst year of the period, that of "Black 47", is known as Irish: Bliain an Drochshaoil. During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%.
The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred on 29 May 1985 when mostly Juventus fans escaping from a breach by Liverpool fans were pressed against a collapsing wall in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between the Italian and English clubs. 39 people—mostly Italians and Juventus fans—were killed and 600 were injured in the confrontation.
The Hindenburg disaster occurred on May 6, 1937, in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst. Of the 97 people on board, there were 35 fatalities. One worker on the ground was also killed, raising the death toll to 36.
The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history, ranked in severity at level 5 out of a possible 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. The fire took place in Unit 1 of the two-pile Windscale facility on the northwest coast of England in Cumberland. The two graphite-moderated reactors, referred to at the time as "piles", had been built as part of the British post-war atomic bomb project. Windscale Pile No. 1 was operational in October 1950 followed by Pile No. 2 in June 1951.
From 8 August 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century. Over 483 people died, and 14 are missing. About a million people were evacuated, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Edanad, Aranmula, Kozhencherry, Ayiroor, Ranni, Pandalam, Kuttanad, Malappuram, Aluva, Chalakudy, Thiruvalla, Eraviperoor, Vallamkulam, N.Paravur, Vypin Island and Palakkad. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents. The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or "calamity of a severe nature". It is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that took place in 1924.
The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal crush of people during an FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, on 15 April 1989. With 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains the worst disaster in British sporting history. The crush occurred in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to Liverpool supporters. Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander, chief superintendent David Duckenfield, ordered exit gate C to be opened, leading to an influx of even more supporters to the already overcrowded central pens.
The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, which happened on the morning of 6 December 1917. The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured. The blast was the largest man-made explosion before the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT (12,000 GJ).
The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres (766,439 ha), the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), as of December 21. The fires have caused more than $3.5 billion in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs. Through the end of August 2018, Cal Fire alone spent $432 million on operations. The Mendocino Complex Fire burned more than 459,000 acres (186,000 ha), becoming the largest complex fire in the state's history, with the complex's Ranch Fire surpassing the Thomas Fire and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 to become California's single-largest recorded wildfire.
The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, codenamed Opération Satanique, was a bombing operation by the "action" branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), carried out on 10 July 1985. During the operation, two operatives sank the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior, at the Port of Auckland in New Zealand on its way to a protest against a planned French nuclear test in Moruroa. Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship.