10 Most Horrible Man-Made Catastrophes In The History Of The World


Humans can't get enough of destroying the world just to increase their profit, income and power. Even small carelessness, irresponsibility and negligence can cause irremediable devastation. Families are torn apart; nature, seas and air are being contaminated at an incredible rate. Needless to say, animals, too, suffer from this devastation. Here are the most horrible man-made industrial catastrophes, not including the events induced or triggered by the nature, such as Fukushima.

1. Deepwater Horizon Explosion, 2010

Deepwater Horizon Explosion, 2010
Deepwater Horizon Explosion, 2010

This explosion, which took place in the petrol platform called "Deepwater Horizon" at the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, not only killed 11 workers, but also brought about an environmental catastrophe that had never been witnessed before. According to the scientists, 15 million liters (approximately around 70,000-100,000 barrels) of raw petrol mixed into the blue sea. The well could be closed only after 85 days. The destruction was so big that it wasn't possible to fish in this gulf for years. Estimates say that hundred thousands of living beings horridly perished.

2. Oppau Explosion, 1921


In the famous BASF factory located in Oppau, Germany, 4,500 tons of nitrate and sulfate mixture exploded. The noise of this explosion was reportedly heard even from 300 km away. Alongside the factory, all other buildings around it were also completely demolished. Even 30 km away from the explosion, the traffic stopped due to broken glass pieces. Almost 600 people died, 2,000 were injured and 6,500 people lost their homes.

3. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, 1989


Getting stuck in Alaska, Exxon Valdez tanker collided in a reef while cruising towards California on March 24 in 1989. In only a couple of days, between 11 and 38 million gallons (42,000 m3 - 144,000 m3) of petrol scattered through the sea. That's why it is considered one of the biggest man-made catastrophes in the world. After this accident, it was reported that 100,000-250,000 sea birds, at least 2,800 sea otters, 300 seals, 247 eagles and 22 whales were killed. Counting the fish was, however, not even possible. Even in 2010, there was still some petrol surfacing through the sand and soil in the surrounding area.

4. The Love Canal Disaster, 1953


It was found out that the firm named Hooker Chemical Company had been disposing of 22,000 tons of toxic waste in the Love Canal (northwest of New York) between 1940 and 1953. The fact that many adults and children around Niagara started flooding to the hospitals with the same symptoms raised suspicion. Leukemia, asthma, epilepsy and many other diseases became radically and worryingly more frequent. After some research, the cause was discovered. In the samples taken from the water and soil, there were many toxic materials including benzene and dioxin; as well as hundreds of carcinogens in high levels. Following this deadly disaster, the region was completely evacuated, quarantined, and couldn't be cleaned for many years.

5. Minamata Disaster, 1932


In a city in Japan, called Minamata, high levels of toxic methyl mercury started to infect all the sea creatures around the gulf, because the company named Chisso Corporation had been disposing their industrial waste in the sea for almost 30 years. All of the people and animals that consumed these infected sea products went through mercury poisoning. This disaster unfortunately led to a horrible disease named Minamata, which was discovered in 1956. This disease, which is caused by a high level mercury poisoning, manifests itself with loss of vision, body paralysis, coma and death.

2265 people were diagnosed with Minamata, 1784 of whom lost their lives in agony.

6. Halifax Explosion, 1917


The disaster, which was a result of a French cargo ship filled with ammo exploding in Halifax port, ended the lives of 2,000 people. 9,000 were injured. The explosion caused a tsunami in the port, as well as a wind that compressed air and finally caused trees to come off and bent the railways.

7. Kuwait petrol fire, 1991


The Iraq military force, while retreating from Kuwait in 1991 after the Gulf War, set around 700 petrol wells on fire. After 7 months, only 400 of these were brought under control. According to scientists, this event is the "nuclear winter" of the earth. This region burnt furiously for months, and turned completely black. Almost in the whole entirety of the Northern Hemisphere, the smoke of this fire wandered around; and landed in our cities in the form of acid rain.

8. Grandcamp Explosion, 1947


The French ship Grandcamp, which was carrying 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate, exploded in the Port of Texas; which is the reason why this incident is also known as the Texas Explosion. 600 people around the port died; some of them couldn't even be identified. Almost 5,000 were injured, and 2,000 lost their homes. Still, many people think that this was the biggest industrial disaster that took place in the USA.

9. Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, 1986


The explosion in the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station on April 26, 1986 caused a disaster whose effects would last many years. The level of radiation that was emitted upon the explosion of the reactor was 200 times higher than that of the atom bombs that exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The disaster, which Russians tried very hard to keep a secret, was discovered due to the abnormal levels of radiation in the Scandinavian skies.

Because of this explosion, which at first killed 31 people, 4,000 others who took part in rescue and cleaning teams died within a year. In Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, 4,000 children under the age of 18 were diagnosed with thyroid cancer until 2004. Countless children, adults and animals were mutated. Scientists believe that between 30,000 and 60,000 people will die of the kinds of cancers caused by this incident in Chernobyl.

The effects of Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster extended through other regions around the Black Sea and continued for many years.

10. Bhopal Disaster, 1984

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The toxic gas leakage was caused by an explosion in a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India during the night between the 2nd and 3rd of June, and killed around 4,000 people in just a few hours. More than 550,000 people were affected. Within the first two weeks, 8,000 people had died and the experts think that another 8,000 died because of gas poisoning. Even today, the incident in Bhopal is believed to be the biggest industrial disaster in the world.

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