Natural Disasters

The analysis linked below portray the death toll of different kinds of natural disasters, worldwide, since 1900.

The comparison is interesting and potentially a bit distressing, particularly if you live in an area prone to one or more of these categories of natural disturbances.. It also leave some questions about definitions and data. For example, what is the difference between landslides and “mass movement (dry)?” Why do natural disasters not include events such as the Spanish flu? What kind of storms do the data include? They might include tornados, hurricanes, and perhaps even strong horizontal winds, but it would be nice to include an explanation in a footnote.

Just as distressing and perhaps more depressing are death counts caused by other kinds of disasters. World War I caused about 10 million military deaths and World War II caused another 21-25 million, and those numbers would probably more than double if we included civilian deaths. The Holocaust caused about 6 million deaths, and Marxist governments in the USSR and China starved about 10 million and 45 million people, respectively. Of course, these are all round numbers, and whether they are too high or too low seems to depend on the political views of who does the tally.

Stalin supposedly once said, “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” In the face of disasters and such cynicism, we turn to the advice of Psalm 146:5, which declares, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” We dare not ignore the past, but we certainly need the hope God provides as we walk into the future.

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