Holidays are supposed to be a break from the everyday. They are designed to allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal life, to escape routine, and to have positive experiences that you’ll remember for many years to come.
The very last thing you want is to experience problems that will hamper your enjoyment of the trip, stop you from doing things that were on your agenda, or ultimately result in you having to turn around and go home.
With that in mind, it makes sense to do a little bit of research before booking a holiday to make sure that you are aware of what you are likely to encounter once you arrive at your chosen location, what you need to look out for, and how you can ensure you don’t suffer too much if things ultimately do go wrong.
It is essential to think about safety in everything you do – from buying travel insurance to wearing sunscreen – but sometimes it pays to think bigger.
The COVID-19 crisis has shown that disasters can arise quickly and have the capacity to cause havoc, so let’s take a look at the countries that are least at risk when it comes to experiencing natural disasters in general, and also give you an understanding of how powerful and detrimental a natural disaster can truly be.
What is regarded as a natural disaster?
A natural disaster is regarded as an event – or series of events – that causes significant damage to locations, and generally results in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. There are many different types of natural disasters – hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, tornados, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes – and they all wreak havoc in their own unique ways.
Many places around the world – countries that are located on tectonic plates, for example – are prone to experiencing major disasters on a routine basis, and so this article is going to focus on the places you can visit where you are least likely to come face to face with mother nature at her most fierce (according to the World Risk Report).
Learn more about: The Effects of Climate Change
Far from disaster
Qatar is the safest country in the world if you don’t fancy being privy to a natural disaster. In fact, the risk is considered to be as low as 0.1%! This small nation, situated on the Persian Gulf, is one of the most modern-looking places on earth, with an array of futuristic skyscrapers, numerous museums, and incredible beach-adjacent promenades that overlook calm seas. However, it is worth noting that Qatar is not only dry in temperature but is also (mostly) dry in terms of alcohol consumption. Some hotels allow the sale of alcohol, but not all do, so it might be worth you checking this beforehand.
Malta is not only regarded as the safest country in Europe – in terms of natural disasters, at the very least – but it’s the second safest in the world. Malta is famous for numerous things; such as it’s the love of cars (there are 329,000 registered vehicles despite there being a total population of around 423,000); having some of oldest complete monuments and structures in the world; the warm waters surrounding the island that mean all manner of marine wildlife swarm there throughout the year.
Not only is Barbados one of the most staggeringly beautiful countries in the world, but it is also one of the least likely to experience a natural disaster of any kind. Located in the Caribbean, this British Commonwealth nation has an abundance of stunning beaches, an endless supply of incredible food, and enough high-quality rum to keep you dancing for many an evening.
What were the worst natural disasters in history?
1. The Haiti earthquake (2010)
We all saw the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake on our TV screens, and the scenes of devastation were absolutely staggering. So catastrophic was the event that it has been incredibly difficult to estimate the death toll; it was initially cast as around 225,000 people, but a year later that number was revised to suggest that as many as 320,000 people had perished. Whatever the total figure, it goes without saying that such an event was utterly disastrous and destroyed much of Haiti.
2. The Haiyuan earthquake (1920)
This earthquake, which happened in Haiyuan County in central China at the beginning of the 20th century, killed an estimated 250,000 people, many of whom were buried in landslides. The quake was so staggeringly powerful that it decimated four entire cities.
3. The Antioch earthquake (560 A.D.)
It is impossible to figure out the number of casualties in this quake due to the fact that it happened before proper written records were available, but some estimates suggest that it could have killed as many as a quarter of a million people. A paper that was released in the Medieval History Journal in 2007 suggested that that death toll was so high due to the fact that, at the time of the earthquake, the city would have contained thousands of tourists who flocked to Antioch – the ruins of which are in present-day Turkey – to celebrate The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
4. The Haiphong typhoon (1881)
This incredibly powerful typhoon, which rose off the coast of what is now Vietnam, is thought to have directly claimed the lives of around 300,000 people. Estimates have suggested that, due to the lack of food and the prevalence of the disease in the wake of the typhoon, another 50,000 could have died in the subsequent weeks and months.
5. The Yellow River flood (1887)
This is, arguably, one of the most devastating natural events to have occurred in human history. This river, located in China, swelled to unnatural levels in the wake of an extended period of heavy rain, and when the banks of the river broke, swathes of land were covered. Estimates suggest that around 5,000 square miles of land ended up underwater, while close to a million lives were lost.
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