Top 10 Cities That Are Prone to Natural Disasters

Credits: Rebecca Brayton Phoebe De Jeu

Script written by Clayton Martino

The world is a beautiful place, but it can also be a deadly one, particularly if you live in one of these places. From Miami, to Istanbul, to San Salvador, these are high risk areas for devastating emergencies. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Cities That Are Prone to Natural Disasters.

Special thanks to our user MC for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Cities+that+are+prone+to+Natural+Disasters.

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Transcript
Script written by Clayton Martino

Top 10 Cities That Are Prone to Natural Disasters


The world is a beautiful place, but it can also be a deadly one, particularly if you live in one of these places. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cities That Are Prone to Natural Disasters.

For this list, we are looking at those cities or regions that experience or are likely to experience crippling natural disasters.


#10: Miami, USA

Living in South Florida has a lot of benefits. Miami, for example, has an average daily temperature of 68 degrees in January, typically the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere. One problem with the area, however, is the risk of hurricanes. Back in 1926, the Great Miami Hurricane killed over 370 people and accrued over $100 million dollars in damage, a number that would be nearly two hundred billion today, when adjusted for inflation. Because of this, Miami is often considered to be one of the riskiest cities in the United States for natural disasters.


#9: Istanbul, Turkey

The North Anatolian Fault runs across Northern Turkey and is located roughly 12 miles south of Istanbul, the nation's most populous city. Since 1939, there have been several earthquakes along the fault line, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people. Over the years, the quakes have been creeping closer and closer to Istanbul. In fact, some sources believe that there is over a 60% chance of Istanbul being hit by a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake in the next quarter century. This would be disastrous for the city and the 15 million people that live there.

#8: San Salvador, El Salvador

The capital of El Salvador, San Salvador is an important financial hub of Central America and home to over one and a half million people. It is also surrounded by volcanoes and prone to earthquakes. In the early 20th century, a nearby volcano erupted, causing three devastating earthquakes that damaged the city so badly the government had to briefly move the capital. Another deadly earthquake hit in 1986, killing over 1,000 people and leaving over 200,000 homeless. The city also gets hit frequently by tropical storms; including Tropical Storm Agatha in 2010, which caused flash flooding and multiple landslides.


#7: Shanghai, China

Shanghai isn’t next to a volcano or placed on a fault line, but it is located on the Yangtze River Delta. The city also experiences freak thunderstorms and occasional downpours. Put the two together and you get flooding - lots and lots of flooding. The city is also occasionally hit by typhoons, although recent storms have not caused any lasting damage. With a population of 30 million people, however, a powerful typhoon or large flood would likely devastate the city and leave a lot of people homeless.


#6: Los Angeles, USA

The San Andreas Fault is roughly 800 miles long and runs through California. It is divided into three segments, with the southern segment containing the highest degree of earthquake risk. Los Angeles, the second-most populous city in the United States, is just 35 miles away from the fault line. In fact, Southern California is hit by approximately 10,000 earthquakes every year, but the majority of them are too small to be felt by humans. Los Angeles has been hit by a number of moderate earthquakes over the past century, but many people believe a “big one” may be coming in the near future.


#5: Jakarta, Indonesia

The capital of Indonesia, Jakarta has been steadily sinking for years. In fact, it’s the fastest sinking city in the world. The Indonesian government has spent billions of dollars in an attempt to prevent the city from sinking further, including building a massive sea wall. Add in the insufficient drainage and wet season rains, however, and you can easily see why Jakarta experiences frequent flooding. To top it off, the city is located near a fault line, making it prone to earthquakes as well. These earthquakes are especially devastating due to Jakarta’s poorly drained soil, which magnifies the intensity of the tremors.


#4: Osaka-Kobe, Japan

In 1995, the Great Hanshin earthquake struck the Osaka-Kobe region, causing billions of dollars in damage and killing more than 6,000 people. The area remains vulnerable to earthquakes today, but that isn’t the only risk. Located on a large coastal plain, brutal storms can lead to flooding. Even worse, the earthquakes can occasionally lead to tsunamis. In fact, Osaka-Kobe is the third-most tsunami-prone region in the entire world. A powerful tsunami would be devastating to the tens of millions of people who live there.


#3: Pearl River Delta, China

The Pearl River Delta is home to multiple massive cities in China, including Hong Kong and Macau. In total, the area is home to more than 63 million people and has an estimated GDP of nearly $1.2 trillion dollars. It is also threatened by a number of natural disasters. For starters, it is the number one metropolitan area for storm surge risk. It is also a high-risk area for cyclones and river floods. A natural disaster of any size would be devastating to the area and the millions of people who live there.


#2: Manila, The Philippines

According to reinsurance company Swiss Re, Manila is the second riskiest capital city to live in because of the dangers of earthquakes and flooding. This is bad news for the 1.7 million people who call Manila home. The city has been through several earthquakes over the years. To make matters worse, Manila is hit with approximately 5 typhoons per year. Typhoon Ketsana caused significant flooding in the area in 2009, and forced the city to improve its drainage network. Still, flooding remains a huge problem and leads to fatalities and millions of dollars in damage every single year.


Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Kolkata, India


Tehran, Iran


Huntsville, USA


#1: Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is perhaps the riskiest area in the world, and no, it’s not because of Godzilla. It’s because the city, and the approximately 38 million people who live there, is at a very high risk for earthquakes, monsoons, floods, and tsunamis. This is primarily because the Tokyo is located near the Boso Triple Junction, the meeting point of three tectonic plates. In 1923, The Great Kantō Earthquake devastated the city, killing roughly 142,000 people. More recently, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake struck just north of Tokyo, and the quake, as well as the ensuing tsunami, killed over 15,000 people.
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