Did you know that flooding made up most of the natural disasters in 2022, and that Pakistan is the most affected country as it recorded the highest loss of human lives?

A natural disaster can cause loss of life or damage property, and typically leaves some economic damage in its wake. Examples of natural hazards include: avalanche, coastal flooding, cold wave, drought, earthquake, hail, heat wave, hurricane (tropical cyclone), ice storm, landslide, lightning, riverine flooding, strong wind, tornado, typhoon, tsunami, volcanic activity, wildfire, winter weather.

The worst disasters of 2022 fell across the spectrum, from floods in India and Nigeria, to drought in Uganda and earthquakes in Afghanistan. Here are 10 of the deadliest natural disasters of 2022:

1️⃣ PAKISTAN FLOODS | At Least 1,739 Deaths

From June to October, record-breaking flooding washed away thousands of homes and took the lives of at least 1,739 people in Pakistan, according to official estimates. Local officials say that the floodwaters could take up to six months to recede completely.

2️⃣ AFGHANISTAN EARTHQUAKE | At Least 1,036 Deaths

On June 21, a magnitude-5.9 earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan, causing landslides, destroying thousands of homes and killing an estimated 1,036 people, according to the United Nations. The earthquake, the deadliest in decades in Afghanistan, adds to a litany of challenges – from social strife to hunger – that have plagued the country since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban last year.

3️⃣ NIGERIA FLOODS | At Least 612 Deaths

Nigeria’s rainy season, which spans June to November, was among the deadliest in more than a decade, with floods causing at least 612 deaths across the nation and displacing a further 1.4 million people, according to Nigerian officials. According to a report released by the World Weather Attribution, the flooding in Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa was made “80 times more likely” by climate change.

4️⃣ SOUTH AFRICAN FLOOD | Estimated 461 Deaths

In early April, heavy rain fell on South Africa’s Eastern Cape – including parts of Durban, the country’s third most populous city – causing flooding and landslides, and killing an estimated 461 people, according to government officials. Months on from the disaster, more than 70 are still missing and thousands are without permanent housing.

5️⃣ INDONESIAN EARTHQUAKE | At Least 334 Deaths

A magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook the town of Cianjur in western Indonesia on November 21, killing at least 334 people, according to the most recent estimates. Due to its position in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic collisions are common, earthquakes are frequent in Indonesia.


Tropical Storm Megi struck the Philippines on April 10. Though not the sole storm to batter the islands this year – 20 on average touch the country annually – Megi was this year’s most destructive, with at least 214 deaths attributed to it, according to the country’s Natural Disaster Risk and Management Council.

7️⃣ BRAZIL FLOODS | At Least 233 Deaths

Just two months into the year, heavy rains pelted the Brazilian town of Petropolis. Flood waters and mudslides surged through the mountainous town, taking at least 233 lives, according to the BBC. Once a preferred summer residence for Brazil's emperors during the country’s imperial period, Petropolis has now spent the last few months recovering from the devastating flooding.

8️⃣ EAST AFRICAN DROUGHT | More Than 200 Deaths

Much of East Africa has been experiencing what the U.N. has called the “worst drought in over forty years,” putting millions at risk of starvation. Figures vary, but both local and international officials place the death toll from hunger above 200 in northeastern Uganda alone, Reuters reports. Some estimates place the drought’s present toll as high as one life lost every 36 seconds, accounting for data gaps. With crop production halved in certain areas, high levels of malnutrition are expected to persist into 2023, says the European Commission.

9️⃣ INDIA FLOOD | At Least 192 Deaths

India’s June to September monsoon season featured, much like the previous year, above-average rainfall, according to CNN. Among the most affected areas was the northeastern state of Assam, where flooding and landslides killed at least 192 people, according to the Times of India.

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