Top 10 Catastrophic and Worst Floods in History


It may be hard to believe but the fact of the matter is that in ancient times some civilizations considered worst floods as a blessing in disguise. The Egyptians regarded the Nile as their only source of the lifeline and the Nile floods are remembered as one of the most important historical events in the history of Egypt.

Experts attribute several causes for the flood deluge; it could be due to busted dams, storm surges or even because of a heavy unseasonal downpour.

Except for certain places on earth, flooding is an unavoidable worldwide phenomenon where downpour is extremely vulnerable. We have assembled a list of top 10 flood disasters of all time that have not only claimed hundreds and thousands of lives but have also left a permanent mark in the earth’s geography.

In The Article


Yellow River Flood (1938)

The Yellow River Flood (1938) is another worst drastic event in Chinese political history. This is considered as one of the worst catastrophic disaster made by man.

During the 2nd Sino -Japanese War, the then Chinese authorities under the guidance of Chiang Shek rapidly opened the dikes along the Yellow River in order to thwart the attempts of the progressing Japanese Army.

This strategic decision of the Chinese government caused enormous flooding in the areas adjoining Jiangsu, Anhui, and Henan resulting in heavy loss of lives and property.More than 6m lost their lives in this distasteful man made the event.

This act of the Chinese government is widely remarked as one of the massive environmental warfare in the history of modern China.

Yellow River Flood



China Flood (1931)

China floods or Yellow River floods is considered as one of the worst floods in the history of modern China. The worst period of flooding was from the period July to November in the year 1931. The rivers of Huai, Yellow and Yangtze had managed to burst all the dikes and flood waters enveloped regions much bigger than the whole area of England.

It is reported that more than 4 million lost their lives in this natural disaster.

Widespread famine broke out after the disaster claiming more number of lives than the initial period of floods.

China Flood Image

China Floods

China Floods



Yellow River Flood (1887)

It is a widely accepted fact that major rivers in China have caused enormous deluge and damage since time immemorial.

The Huanghe River or Yellow River as it is famously known stands testimony to this fact.

In the month of September 1887, Yellow River ran over its dike in the Province of Henan, situated downstream inundating more than four thousand square miles of land.

This river also called as the “Sorrow River”, in 1887 claimed around 0.9 million lives, and damaged a dozen towns and several villages along its course.

Yellow River Flood

Yellow River Flood



Banqiao Dam Burst (1975)

The construction of Banqiao dam started in the year 1951, to meet the growing demands of electricity and also to check downstream flooding during peak seasons.

The design of the dam was regarded as not standard since the Chinese authorities were short of concrete hydrology data and the dam was opened in the year 1952.

An unexpected natural disaster in the form of Typhoon Nina struck Zhumadian region in the year 1975 (August), causing an enormous amount of rainfall in excess of 1000 mm per day.

Subsequently, Banqiao dam burst open and the Chinese authorities had put the estimated figures of lost lives to around 0.2 m.

Even today, people in China squarely blame the government for its failure to handle the situation in an effective manner.

Banqiao Dam Burst


Indus River Flood (1841)

Indus River flood is recorded as one of the worst flood in terms of water discharge, which totally engulfed the surrounding regions. The main reason for flooding was due to landslides caused by an earthquake in the Nanga Parbat region.

Even though the number of lives lost in this disaster is not officially available, it is estimated that around half a million lives were lost.

A Sikh-army of 500 men was believed to have been wiped off by the sudden rush of gargantuan flood waters.This remorseful event started during the month of January, following the landslide.

Indus River Flood 



North Vietnam Flood (1971)

Recorded as one of the most important weather events in South-East Asia, the North Vietnam flood is reported to have consumed more than 0.12 m lives.

The official estimates are hard to gather since this disaster took place right amidst the raging Vietnam War in the year 1971.

The flooding of Red River region and Hanoi province is a deep reminder of the fury of nature.

This disastrous flooding not only affected the livelihood of several displaced Vietnamese but also the agricultural fertility of the region.

North Vietnam Flood


Yangtze Flood (1911)

Yangtze River in China is still regarded as one of the longest rivers not only in South-East Asia but in Asia as a whole.

The official figures stand at around 0.1m for the number of lives lost in this deluge.

This Chinese area is notoriously famous for several such unlikely events and this river plays the stellar role in the lives of Chinese people in terms culture and history.

The Three Gorges Dam is the one of the key addition to this rich legacy of this river in recent times.

Yangtze Flood 


Grote Mandrenke (1362)

Grote Mandrenke or the Saint Marcellus flood as it was called, happened in the year 1362, causing an enormous amount of damage to both physical resources and human lives.

More than 0.075 m lives were lost in this deluge that swept across Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

Even reports suggest vanishing of islands from the map, resulting in permanent damage to the coastline. One of the worst natural disasters in the middle ages, the flood of Saint Marcellus was instrumental in creating a bay in the North Sea, now called as “Zuiderzee”.

Grote Mandrenke


St. Lucia’ flood (1287)

Killing approximately more than 0.08 m people, St.Lucia flood is one of the dark chapters in the history of Netherlands.

The 1503 North Sea Event was considered by many similar to this deluge that rocked Europe. A severe storm-tide not only affected Northern Germany but also Netherlands on Dec 14th, 1287, creating the now famous salty Zuiderzee.

Only a few events in Netherlands history come close to this deluge as per current weather reports and details.

St. Lucia’ flood  


St. Felix’s flood (1530)

Europe’s most disastrous flood, Netherlands was at the receiving end of 5th November 1530. This deluge caused inexplicable damage to Reimerswaal killing more than 0.07 m people.

The town of Zeeland and Flanders have washed away without any pity. The survivors of this city then moved to another place to reconstruct their lives from the beginning.

And now we all know why the Dutch consider Nov 5th as “Evil Saturday” to start with.

St. Felix’s flood

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