The 5 most expensive disasters by cost in recent history

The most expensive disasters by cost in history

Disasters can have tremendous costs associated with recovering from and responding to them. This article lists the measured economic prices of recent disasters.

  1. Chernobyl disaster: The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday, April 26, 1986 CE, at the No. 4 reactors in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in terms of cost and casualties and is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles—roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation.
  2. 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami: The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on March 11. The magnitude 9.0–9.1 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake had an epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of the Tōhoku region, and lasted approximately six minutes, causing a tsunami. It is sometimes known in Japan as the “Great earthquake disaster of East Japan,” among other names. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The official figures released in 2021 reported 19,747 deaths, 6,242 injured, and 2,556 people were missing. A report from 2015 indicated 228,863 people were still living away from their homes in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation.
  3. Great Hanshin earthquake: The Great Hanshin Earthquake, or Kobe earthquake, occurred on January 17, 1995, at 05:46:53 JST in the southern part of Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, including the region known as Hanshin. It measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale and had a maximum intensity of 7 on the JMA Seismic Intensity Scale (X on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale). The tremors lasted for approximately 20 seconds. The earthquake’s focus was located 17 km beneath its epicenter, on the northern end of Awaji Island, 20 km away from the center of the city of Kobe.
  4. September 11 attacks: The September 11 attacks, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Wahhabi Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On Tuesday morning, four commercial airliners from the northeastern United States were scheduled to land in California. When the planes were in mid-flight, they were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. Within an hour and forty-two minutes, both 110 story towers collapsed. The World Trade Center collapse kickstarted the collapse of the other World Trade Center structures, including 7 World Trade Center, and significantly damaged surrounding buildings. A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, flying from Dulles International Airport, was hijacked over Ohio. At 9:37 am, Flight 77 was crashed into the west side of the Pentagon (the headquarters of the American military) in Arlington County, Virginia, which led to a partial collapse of the west side. The fourth and final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C. but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after a struggle between passengers and hijackers. Investigators were unable to determine the exact target of Flight 93 but concluded the plane was planned to crash into the Capitol Building or the White House.
  5. 2019–20 Australian bushfire season: The 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, colloquially known as Black Summer, was a period of unusually intense bushfires in many parts of Australia. As of March 9, 2020, the fires burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares (46 million acres; 186,000 square kilometers; 72,000 square miles), destroyed over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes and killed at least 34 people. Nearly three billion terrestrial vertebrates alone – the vast majority being reptiles – were affected, and some endangered species were believed to be driven to extinction. At its peak, air quality dropped to hazardous levels in all southern and eastern states. The cost of dealing with the bushfires is expected to exceed the A$4.4 billion of the 2009 Black Saturday fires, and tourism sector revenues fell by more than A$1 billion.

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