Floods, fires, eruptions, hurricanes, heatwaves- once unique once terms saved for the occasional headline have now become commonplace in today’s news world. Increasing evidence of climate change, Combine this with the rise in associated climate activism, and the COP26 effect last year have and it is clear has ensured that the ongoing climate crisis and natural disasters has been brought to the fore of the news agenda featured more prevalently in our daily lives than ever before. With the recent volcanic eruption and Tsunami in Tonga still fresh in minds, As we take a look back over some of the many natural disasters that struck our world in 2021 the power of the natural world and the way climate change affects us, seems all the more palpable.
July saw devastating floods wreak havoc in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. With almost 200 deaths and more than 700 injured, the effects of floods due to torrential rain hit Ahrweiler in Germany particularly hard. This was Germany’s worst natural disaster in decades, with cars overturned and several buildings collapsed as a result of the flooding.
In the summer last year wildfires hit Greece, Southern Italy and Turkey. Greece experienced its worst heatwave since 1987 which sparked huge wildfires across parts of the country. The island of Evia was one of the worst hit areas and, as you can see from the images above, the fires swept across the island quickly and consumed many areas. Houses and trees were left blackened in the aftermath of the fires, with residents seen helping local firefighters attempting to contain the blaze.
New Orleans is a town used to it’s fair share of extreme weather and August of last year was no exception. Hurricane Ida hit the city and reduced brick buildings to rubble. The Category Four hurricane left nearly all of New Orleans without power before the storms moved onwards to pound further Southern American cities. The hurricane claimed the lives of 115 people and caused $75.25 billion worth of damage.
Heatwaves affected many countries last year with British Columbia in Canada being hit with record breaking weather. With temperatures topping 43 degrees many towns and people within the region were effected. The extreme heat caused wildfires to break out and they soon consumed the village of Lytton. The fire spread so through the village wiping out several buildings in its path.
Not only did British Columbia see record heat in the summer but in November floodwaters hit Abbotsford. The Nooksack River burst its banks and floodwaters began to spread towards the city. The City of Abbotsford issued evacuation orders for some areas as the floods were anticipated after record breaking rainfall was recorded in the area.
In the summer last year record-breaking torrential rain hit Henan Province. The subsequent floods killed 56 in and around Zhengzhou and Xinxiang with thousands needing to be rescued. With damage to roads, resevoirs, dams and subways a total 1,400 Xinxing households were rescued and resettled. Rescue workers were seen evacuating residents on their backs as well as on boats through the waist deep water.
In August last year unseasonably hot and dry weather led to raging wildfires across Yakutia in Russia. The fires tore through over 4 million hectares of the Siberian region with firefighters setting controlled explosion in the way of the fire. Yakutia declared a state of emergency and the smoke plumes from the fire reached as far as the North Pole. Some 2,600 firefighters joined the attempt to extinguish the fire, along with 300 vehicles, and eight planes and helicopters.
The island of La Palma, part of the Canary Islands, had its first volcanic eruption since 1971 last year. With lava rivers destroying everything in their path the powerful eruption from Cumbre Viejo certainly made its mark on the island. Thankfully local authorities had been monitoring the increased seismic activity of the volcano leading up to the event and were able to evacuate over 7,000 to safety.
This ominous looking dust storm hit the outback town of Boulia in northwest Queensland in December 2021. The storm, with winds reaching up to 109 km/h was triggered by thunderstorms in the region. As you can see from the unique drone footage captured by RUPTLY the storm was of epic proportions with residents stating it was the largest they’d seen in eight years.
Mount Aso, the largest volcano in Japan, erupted for the first time in 5 years on October 21 2021. The timelapse footage here shows the impressive event as a cloud of dark ash and smoke engulfed the surrounding area.
Being on-scene to gather ground-breaking footage and images from these at once captivating yet devastating scenes takes the work of both brave highly skilled videographers, as well as members of the public caught up in the disasters themselves. These moments and many more are brought to the world by RUPTLY and other sources, ensuring that the full-effect of natural events reach viewers and newscasters the world over, enabling them to tell these important stories.
By Laura Lucchini