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Disaster

1703 – The Great Storm of 1703

7 December

The Great Storm of 1703 arrived from the southwest on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar). In London, 2,000 chimney stacks collapsed. The New Forest lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News-bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time. The church declared that the storm was God’s vengeance for the sins of the nation. Daniel Defoe thought it was a divine punishment for poor performance against Catholic armies in the War of the Spanish Succession.

1917 – Halifax Explosion: the largest artificial explosion up to that time

6 December

The Halifax Explosion was a maritime disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on this day in 1917. SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire on board the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured. Continue reading “1917 – Halifax Explosion: the largest artificial explosion up to that time”

1984 – The Bhopal disaster

3 December

The Bhopal disaster, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals. The toxic substance made its way into and around the shanty towns located near the plant. Continue reading “1984 – The Bhopal disaster”

2005 – Hurricane Katrina

29 August – On this day

Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 storm. Continue reading “2005 – Hurricane Katrina”

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