by Curt Kovener
Harvey hammered Houston now as of this writing Irma is trying to blow Florida away. Who knows as we go down the alphabet what additional national disasters may befall us.
Old Testament believers might say that God is smiting this nation. But contemporary church goers might say since we are a Christian nation founded on religious principals, the Almighty would not do that. But perhaps that is a topic for another column another time.
Despite the property damage, displacement of people and death around the Gulf Coast, America doesn’t rank in the top nine for world wide killer natural disasters.
#9 On Jan. 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. More than 1.5 million people lost their homes. There were 200,000 killed and thousands more from the cholera epidemic that broke out afterwards.
#8 On Christmas Day 2004 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra resulted in tsunami waves up to 50 feet tall which struck 11 countries resulting in the death of 226,000.
#7 An earthquake in China in 1920 killed half the population of Haiyuan. Final death toll: 230,000.
#6 A cyclone (hurricane) struck the Ganges River Delta in India on Oct. 11, 1737 then moved inland 200 miles dumping 15 inches of rain in six hours killing 300,000.
#5 On Nov. 11, 1970, a cyclone struck at Bhola, Banladesh laying waste to the country and killing an estimate 350,000.
#4 Eight-five percent of the buildings were destroy in the city of Tangshan, China on July 28, 1976 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred injuring more than a million people and killing 240,000.
#3 An 8.0 magnitude earthquake shook Shaanxi, China on Jan. 23, 1556 collapsing every single building and killing 830,000.
#2 The river called “China’s Sorrow” earned its name in 1887 when the Huang Le River flooded over half million square miles of land filling 11 cities and villages with water leaving 2 million homeless and 900,000 dead.
The #1 killer natural disaster occurred in 1931 in Southern China. Rivers were already swollen from spring precipitation when torrential rains fell causing the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers to overflow their banks wiping out crops and the resulting standing water became contaminated. The combination of events led to starvation and outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery resulting in the deaths of 3.7 million people.
Most of those countries at the time were financially overwhelmed by the devastation or did not have any disaster assistance available.
You may be curious to know that members of the Republican Congressional delegation from Texas who voted against more funding for damage done in along the east coast by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 now support more funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their home state in 2017.
We should all hope that those who want to “Make America Great Again” have it in their conscience to help those Americans who become smitten by the Almighty.