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Worldwide Disasters Report | 2021 Quarter 1

All disastrous events fit into three classifications:

  1. Natural - Caused from natural processes of the earth (floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)

  2. Man-made - Crime, arson, civil disorder, terrorism, war, biological/chemical, cyber attacks, etc.

  3. Hybrid - technical failure or sabotage, disaster planning and management, and warning systems

Disasters can strike at any time and in any place in the world. You are probably aware of local news breaking disasters. Many of us are myopic, only able to see what is happening in our own area. It is important to be informed of disasters affecting other areas of the world because they may affect your own life indirectly. The CDP (Center for Disaster Philanthropy) keeps an eye on the status of disasters worldwide and compiles disaster information.

Considering the ongoing worldwide Coronavirus pandemic that started in China and spread to every corner of the world, COVID-19 still affects humankind on a global scale.

The World Health Organization (WHO) keeps track of disasters and reports them by region on a weekly basis.

How do disasters affect people’s lives?

  • Homes and possessions lost

  • Financial burden

  • Physical injury or death

  • Emotional trauma

Many lessons are learned from each disaster. Relief officials use knowledge gained from past experiences to help prepare for future disasters.

In January 2021, the following natural or man-made disasters were recorded:


  • January 12 - Floods in Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Kosovo

North America

  • January 6 - Powerful winter storms in Alaska, Pacific Northwest, and Canada

  • January 13 - Deadly windstorm through Pacific Northwest left many without power


  • January 27 - Malarial mosquito widespread in the Horn of Africa

  • January 14 - 25 - Cyclone Eloise affected more than 300,000 people.


  • January 24 - Earthquake hit South Shetland Islands


  • January 24 - Salmonella cases in Salta province

  • January 13 - 4.2 M quake northwest of Chilecito

  • January 18 - 6.4 M quake in San Juan, Argentina


  • January 4 - Tropical Cyclone “Imogen” brought floods and disruption to Queensland, Australia

  • January 29 - Victoria drenched by a month’s worth of rain in 12 hours in NSW.

  • January 16 - Tropical Cyclone “Kimi” in Queensland


  • January 14 - Large fire in Bangladesh


  • January 3 - Storm caused power outages to thousands of Nova Scotia power customers

  • January 29 - Pertussis outbreak in Northwest Territories


  • January 20 - Miners trapped in gold mines


  • January 8 - Large earthquake causes fatalities


  • January 18 - Locust invasion


  • January 30 - Tropical depression intensified into a tropical cyclone


  • January 12 - Heavy snow causes deaths in Jammu and Kashmir

  • January 21 - Fire at world’s largest vaccine producer: Serum Institute


  • January 11 - Flooding in Indonesia’s Capital

  • January 27 - Significant Merapi Volcano eruption

  • January 18 - Worst floods in 50 years hit South Kalimantan

  • January 16 - Semeru Volcano spewing lava


  • January 2 - Etna’s Southeast Crater eruption


  • January 7 - Severe weather and heavy snow


  • January 12 - Drought causes humanitarian crisis


  • January 13 - Attack in Mali leaving United Nation peacekeepers dead


  • January 26 - Tropical Cyclone “Chalane” in Beira, Mozambique

  • January 27 - Tropical Cyclone “Eloise” near Beira with fatalities


  • January 11 - Heavy Rain causing flash floods in Windhoek


  • January 19 - Lassa fever in Nigeria


  • January 4 - Landslide


  • January 14 - Avalanches in Pakistani and Indian Kashmir killed dozens

Papua New Guinea

  • January 1 - Landslide engulfed Papua New Guinea Village


  • January 12 - New variant of COVID-19 detected in Lima

  • January 15 - Worst dengue epidemic since 2017


  • January 9 - Worst snowstorm since 1971

  • January 11 - Mad Cow disease reported in Spain

  • January 28 - Huge wind storm “Hortense” hits Mallorca (winds up to 105 mph

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

  • January 3 - Soufriere Volcano activity


  • January 19 - Heavy rains turn into lakes


  • January 21 - Blaze guts home for elderly

United Kingdom

  • January 6 - Crawley gas leak

  • January 21 - Storm Christoph causes historic flooding

United States of America

  • January 6 - Trump Supporters stormed US Capitol

  • January 7 - Powerful rare winter storm in Florida leaving thousands without power

  • January 26 - Tornado in Fultondale, Alabama causes significant damage

  • January 27 - Strong winter storm with floods and blizzard in California

  • January 17 - Rabies alert in Fairmount Heights, Maryland

February 2021 was a short month, but it definitely was not devoid of disasters affecting millions worldwide. The following disasters were recorded (by area) impacting thousands throughout the globe:


  • The central Daykundi province had an avalanche that killed 31 and damaged many homes and killed many animals.


  • After the many fires in Australia in 2020, it was hit in February 2021 by the heaviest rainfall in 30 years brining widespread flooding. Thousands of homes lost power.

  • Perth bushfires caused evacuations and destroyed homes.

  • Victoria drenched when a month’s worth of rain fell in 12 hours.


  • The government reported that rain and flooding affected 700 families in an indigenous community


  • Record flooding in northwestern Brazil affected more than 100,000 people

Central Africa

  • The Central African Republic experienced the return of Monkeypox

Central Europe

  • Storm Ciara with near-hurricane winds battered Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.


  • Record rainfall, hail, and severe storms


  • Flooding and landslides killed eight people after heavy days-long rain.

Cook Islands

  • Dengue outbreak declared

East Africa

  • Local farmers were left helpless when swarms of locusts destroyed 170,000 acres of crops


  • A Saharan dust plume moved over Europe


  • Tropical Cyclone “Ana” left one person dead and five missing


  • Historic snowstorm left three dead


  • Ebola cases emerged, and Guinea started a vaccine campaign


  • Pacava volcano alert level raised to yellow due to increased explosive activity


  • Ebola outbreak


  • Rock and ice avalanche hit Uttarakhand hit with a loss of more than 150 people


  • Reykjanes peninsula hit by intense earthquakes


  • South Sumatra province experienced heavy rainfall, flooding thousands of homes.

  • Ten students killed when many students hit by flash floods while they were trekking along a river.

  • Jakarta under 2.7 m of water due to extreme monsoon rains


  • Heavy rain spurred widespread flooding in the Lorestan province where rivers overflowed damaging roads, bridges, cutting off numerous villages.


  • Oil spill after heavy storms and unusually high waves was the worst environmental disaster in decades


  • Etna Volcano eruption


  • Mt. Shindake experienced pyroclastic flows, ash, and smoke after a massive volcano eruption. Ash and smoke spewed 2,300 feet, and flow reached 3,000 on the southwest of the crater.

  • A very severe snowstorm was the strongest in years


  • First snow in 15 years also affecting parts of northern Africa and the Middle East.

  • Snow disrupted life in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel


  • Tropical Cyclone “Guambe” intensified over the Mozambique Channel

New Zealand

  • Steam explosions at White Island followed increase in volcano Treme levels


  • Shallow 7.7 earthquake hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands and put New Caledonia on a tsunami watch


  • Tropical Cyclone affecting Vanuatu and New Caledonia reaching Category 2