The Worst Typhoons in Asias History

What is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane? A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that develops in the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that develops in the tropical Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, and off the west coast Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. How are typhoons and hurricanes similar? They are the same with both having high winds and storm surges, which result in massive destruction, loss of lives and properties. Both hurricanes and typhoons are categorized by The National Hurricane Center (NHC), which uses the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Witnessing the recent vast destruction of Hurricane Sandy, which hit areas of the Northeastern Coast of the U.S., what kind of havoc is wreaked by typhoons on the other side of the world in Asia? Following is a list of the most deadly typhoons in Asia’s history.

The worst typhoon ever recorded was the Bhola Typhoon, which made landfall in Bangladesh on November 12, 1970. Its storm surge was 33 feet and flooded the Ganges River Delta, causing the drowning deaths of up to 500,000 people.  Over 85% of homes were destroyed.

Tied for the second worst typhoons recorded, are the Haiphong Typhoon of Viet Nam, and the Coringa Cyclone, which is also called the Indian Cyclone. The Coringa Cyclone struck India’s East Coast where it decimated the port city of Coringa. The city was never rebuilt. Approximately 300,000 people died as a result of a 40 foot storm surge. More than 20,000 vessels at sea were destroyed.

Haiphong Typhoon of 1881 struck Haiphong, which is now known as Viet Nam. Up to 300,000 people were killed, and is considered one of the deadliest cyclonic storms in history.

The Calcutta Typhoon, in 1737, killed 300,000 people and destroyed 20,000 ships when it hit Calcutta. A duties collector for the British East India Company wrote an official report claiming that that the storm and flood destroyed nearly all the thatched houses and killed thousands of people.

In 1975, Super Typhoon Nina was recorded having wind speeds of 155 miles-per-hour. While missing most of the major cities in Asia, it still caused 210,000 deaths. Nina caused 62 dams to fall, which formed massive temporary lakes. Nina caused one billion dollars in damages.  

The Swatow Typhoon hit the Chinese city of Swatow with 100 miles-per-hour winds, and 12 feet storm surges. The total death toll of the Swatow Typhoon was 60,000 people.

Both hurricanes and typhoons can wreak mass destruction with high winds and high storm surges, claiming hundreds of thousands of human lives, and costing billions of dollars in destroyed cities, towns, farms, businesses, and homes, as is evidenced by the worst typhoons in Asia’s history.