Backgrounder: the world's most devastating earthquakes over last 20 years

10:46, February 28, 2010      

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An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale shook Chile on early Saturday morning, killing at least 147 people and leaving a great destruction in the center and south of the country.

The earthquake occurred at 3:36 a.m. local time (0636 GMT), when most of people were asleep. This earthquake according to the experts was 50 times more powerful than the one that devastated Haiti on Jan. 12.

Following are some of the most devastating earthquakes over the last 20 years:

- July 16, 1990: Manila, Philippines' capital and many provinces of Luzon were shook by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, killing 1,597 people.

- Oct. 20, 1991: An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude struck Uttar Pradesh, north of India, killing 2,000 people.

- March 22, 1992: An earthquake of 6.3 magnitude left one million victims and 50,000 homeless in east Turkey.

- Dec. 13, 1992: An earthquake of 7.5 magnitude devastated Flores Island in Indonesia, which killed 2,500 people.

- Sept. 30, 1993: An earthquake measuring 6.4 magnitude shook Maharastra state in India, killing 7,601 people and injured 15,846 more.

- Jan. 17, 1995: An earthquake of 7.2 magnitude killed 6,400 people in Kobe, west of Japan.

- May 28, 1995: North of Sajalin Island in western Russia, was jolted by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake killing 1,989 people.

- May 10, 1997: Jorasan province in the east of Iran was devastated by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake, killing 1,560 people.

- Feb. 4, 1998: Rustaq district in the north of Afghanistan was stricken by an a 6.1-magnitude earthquake. It killed at least 4, 400 people. Later another earthquake of 6-magnitude rocked the same area killing 250 more people.

- May 30, 1998: Tajar province, northeast of Afghanistan was hit by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which killed 5,000 people.

- July 18, 1998: A tsunami with waves as high as 10 meters killed 3,000 people in the north coast of Papua-Nueva Guinea.

- Jan. 25, 1999: The coffee region of Quindio in Colombia was shaken by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake killing 1,100 people.

- Aug. 17, 1999: The northwest of Turkey, including Istanbul, was jolted by an earthquake of 7.4 magnitude, which killed 17,000 people and injured 30,000 more.

- Jan. 26, 2001: At least 15,500 people died in an earthquake of 6.9 magnitude in the northwestern state of Gujarat in India.

- May 21, 2003: Some 2,273 people died, 10,243 more were injured and more than 1,000 went missing in Argelia in an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude.

- Dec. 26, 2003: An earthquake of 6.3 magnitude killed 26,271 people in Bam city, southeast of Iran. The earthquake also devastated 70 percent of the city, leaving two thirds of its population of 200,000 homeless.

- Dec. 26, 2004: The Indonesia island of Sumatra was devastated by an earthquake measuring 8.9 magnitude, with it epicenter in Aceh. A tsunami killed more than 280,000 people in 12 Asian and African countries.

The most affected countries were Indonesia with 121,219 deaths, Sri Lanka with at least 39,000, India with some 11,000 and Thailand with 5,313 deaths, including 2,171 foreigners.

- March 28, 2005: The west of Sumatra was shaken by a 8.7- magnitude quake killing 1,300 people.

- Oct. 8, 2005: Kashmir, a city on the Pakistan-India border, was shaken by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake, which killed 86,000 people and injured 40,000 more. In the India side, 1,000 people died.

- May 27, 2006: Java Island in Indonesia was stricken by an earthquake measuring 6.2 magnitude, which killed 6,234 people, injured 20,000 and left 340,000 displaced people.

- Aug. 15, 2007: An earthquake measuring 8 magnitude shook Peru, killing 513 people and injuring 1,090 more.

- May 12, 2008: Wenchuan county in southwest China was the epicenter of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 90, 000 people.

- April 6, 2009: An earthquake of 6.2 magnitude shook central Italy, killing 299 people.

- Sept. 30, 2009: A total of 3,000 people died and 450,000 were left homeless in Sumatra island in Indonesia, after a 7.6- magnitude quake and aftershocks up to 6.8 magnitude.

- Nov. 7, 2009: An earthquake of 7.9 magnitude in Port Vila coasts in Vanuatu killed 452 people and injured 786 more.

- Jan. 12, 2010: Haiti was shaken by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake, the worst in its history. Some 300,000 people were killed and more than one million was left homeless.

Source:Xinhua
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