Biggest natural disasters of 2022: earthquakes, snowstorms, fires and more

In 2022, the world witnessed a series of major disasters that caused widespread destruction, destroying homes and communities and, in some cases, taking lives.

Here’s a look back at some of the biggest natural disasters in the United States and around the world in 2022:

UNDERWATER VOLCANO ERUPTION IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN

On January 15, 2022, an underwater volcano erupted in the South Pacific near the island kingdom of Tonga. The eruption triggered tsunami warnings for the archipelago and even as far west as the US coast.

An umbrella cloud created by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on January 15, 2022.

An umbrella cloud created by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on January 15, 2022.
(NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens using GOES imagery courtesy NOAA and NESDIS)

Surveillance flights by the New Zealand and Australian Armed Forces showed extensive damage to houses, roads, water, tanks and other infrastructure along the west coast of Tongatapu. Seismologists said it was one of the largest recorded eruptions since Krakatoa in 1883.

CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE CAUSES TWO LIVES, 11 OTHERS INJURED

FLOODS IN PAKISTAN KILL OVER 1,700 PEOPLE

Record-breaking floods swept Pakistan between June and October, washing away thousands of homes and killing at least 1,739 people.

The government estimated at least $30 billion in damage as crops, roads, streets, livestock, bridges, homes, schools and medical facilities were washed away.

People in Pakistan are struggling to navigate through flooded streets after monsoon rains triggered flash floods in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

People in Pakistan are struggling to navigate through flooded streets after monsoon rains triggered flash floods in Hyderabad, Pakistan on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.
(AP Photo/Pervez Masih)

Nearly 8 million people have been displaced without a home with adequate health care. Many of them lived outdoors and were exposed to diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, dengue fever, serious skin and eye infections, cholera, dog and snake bites – all of which are spreading quickly in stagnant floods that officials say has been going on for several months will take until they go back .

CALIFORNIA FOREST FIRES

Although comparatively tamer than in previous years, a series of wildfires swept across California between January and October. Cal Fire estimates there were approximately 7,592 total incidents with an estimated 362,271 acres burned and nine deaths. More than 100 buildings were damaged and about 772 were destroyed.

Firefighters battle a fire burning in California.

Firefighters battle a fire burning in California.
(Fox News/Jiovanni Lieggi)

EAST COAST STORM LEAVES 100,000 WITHOUT POWER, AT LEAST 3 DEATHS

A northeast winter storm in January brought snowstorms to many areas, leaving more than 100,000 people without power.

In the New York City area, snow amounts ranged from a few inches in some areas north and west of the city to more than 2 feet in Islip on Long Island, according to the National Weather Service.

Plow in whiteout, East Squantum St. during snow storm in Quincy, MA on January 29, 2022.

Plow in whiteout, East Squantum St. during snow storm in Quincy, MA on January 29, 2022.
(Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Warren, Rhode Island, managed more than 2 feet while Norwich, Connecticut finished by almost two feet. Some areas in Maine and New Hampshire also received more than one foot.

MAUNA LOA VOLCANIC ERUPTION: WHAT TO KNOW

Suffolk County Police said an elderly man fell into a swimming pool while shoveling snow in Southhold and was pronounced dead after attempts at resuscitation failed. Nassau County officials said two men, ages 53 and 75, died in the Syosset tower while shoveling snow.

EARTHQUAKE IN AFGHANISTA KILL AT LEAST 1,036

A powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed an estimated 1,036 people and injured at least 1,500 others in June — the deadliest earthquake in 2002, when a magnitude 6.1 tremor killed around 1,000 people.

In this photo released by a state-run Bakhtar news agency, Afghans look at the destruction caused by an earthquake in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

In this photo released by a state-run Bakhtar news agency, Afghans look at the destruction caused by an earthquake in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
(Bakhtar News Agency via AP)

The 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s Paktika province just 10 months after the chaotic disengagement and departure of most of the international community from the region, hampering efforts to provide aid to the country’s 38 million people.

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The earthquake destroyed hundreds of homes in Paktika and dozens remained trapped under the rubble. Countless buildings were also damaged in the province of Khost.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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