During 2023 the earthquake of Turkey and Syria that occurred last February 6 was the strongest natural disaster in our region (French)

There is no doubt that the strongest natural disasters in our region during 2023 were the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which occurred at dawn on the sixth of last February, and was with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, followed by another earthquake of magnitude 7.7 on the afternoon of the same day, which exacerbated the disaster, bringing the total number of victims to more than 50,<> people, with twice the number of wounded and millions displaced from the affected areas.

Catastrophic earthquakes

This was followed on September 8 by another earthquake that struck Morocco with a magnitude of 6.8, and the epicenter of the earthquake was about 75 km southwest of Marrakesh near the town of Ighil in the Atlas Mountains, causing the death of nearly three thousand people. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, since 1900, no earthquake of magnitude 6 or magnitude has occurred within 500 km of this quake.

From Morocco and Turkey to Afghanistan, which in October saw an earthquake that killed more than 2400,15 people in areas where earthquakes are already high, all standing above the Alpine Belt, a seismic and mountain belt that stretches for more than <>,<> kilometers along the southern margin of Asia and Europe.

The alpine belt starts at Sumatra, then passes through the Indochina Peninsula, then the Himalayas and beyond, then the mountains of Iran, the Caucasus and Anatolia to the Mediterranean Sea, and even the Atlantic Ocean, and this belt is responsible for 17% of the world's major earthquakes.

Catastrophic floods in 2023, led by floods in Libya, killed more than 11,<> (Reuters)

Frequent flooding

But in addition to the previous natural disasters, there were other severe disasters that flooded in 2023, and scientists in this range believe that they are directly or indirectly affected by climate change, as average temperatures continue to rise rapidly year after year, and some research sources recorded 2023 as the hottest in the history of measurement.

For example, according to the IPCC report, it has become clear that climate change has significantly affected many water-related variables such as rainfall and high wind activity, phenomena that increase the intensity and speed of flooding.

In addition, melting rivers and ice sheets are raising sea levels globally, with the Earth's oceans and seas about 20 centimeters higher than in 1900, the highest rate of rise in a century in the past two millennia, making it easier for seawater to pass into cities during floods.

Warming of the planet's atmosphere causes an increase in humidity in the air, increasing the likelihood of rainfall. However, rainfall in this case carries some downsides, as high temperatures also cause the soil to dry out, reducing rainwater absorption, and thus contributing to the spread of water further than usual.

This is reflected in a number of catastrophic floods in 2023, led by the floods in Libya, which killed more than 11,<> people.

As of July 29, at least 16 cities and provinces in northeast China experienced record rainfall and flooding due to Typhoon Doxuri, and Beijing experienced the heaviest rainfall in nearly a century and a half.

Unfortunately, heavy rains and typhoons did not stop, but spread heavily during the month of August, and all parts of China were hit by many mudslides and flash floods.

In Haiti, turbulent weather hit seven of the country's 13 provinces, displaced more than 2023,50 people in June <>, and several countries were hit by major flooding from three rivers that killed more than <> people.

Floods were perhaps the most frequent natural disaster in 2023, with countries such as Brazil, Ghana, India, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea, Ecuador, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia experiencing flooding this year.

A picture of the devastation left by Hurricane Otis, which hit the Mexican coast on the Pacific Ocean on October 25 (Reuters)

Hurricanes have increased in strength

Floods have always occurred, but climate change has caused their rates, intensity and length to increase, and this also applies to other natural disasters, as the warming of the water surface in the world's seas and oceans - due to climate change - causes an increase in the intensity, rates and length of hurricanes.

A hurricane draws its energy from the heat of the ocean, which it uses to feed its circulation, which increases its wind speed, so it is certain for scientists in this range that the higher the degree of global warming, the more vulnerable the Earth becomes to hurricanes more severe and faster than before.

This is already seen in global hurricane data, where the number of hurricanes from scale 4 and 5 (those with wind speeds above 200 to 250 km per hour) rose from an average of 10 hurricanes per year in the seventies to 18 per year in the nineties.

This is evident in several natural disasters that occurred in 2023, such as Hurricane Otis, which hit the Mexican coast on the Pacific Ocean on October 25 with winds of 250 kilometers per hour, overtaking Hurricane Patricia as the strongest hurricane recorded to reach land.

The hurricane destroyed nearly 80 percent of hotels and 96 percent of businesses in the Mexican city of Acapulco.

In addition, some countries, such as the United States, have experienced an exceptional storm season that prompted agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare 2023 the most expensive year in terms of managing natural disasters.

At least a dozen documented hurricanes were confirmed in 2023 within the United States, the first three months of 2023 exceeded the average, and 2023 was one of the highest years recorded in the United States for the number of storm deaths with 76 deaths.

In 2023, Algeria witnessed about 100 fires in 16 provinces, killing at least 34 people (Reuters)

Forest fires

It seems that 2023 was also one of the years that recorded severe cases of forest fires, for example, we remember the forest fires in Algeria during the month of July, where the country witnessed nearly 100 fires in 16 provinces that killed at least 34 people, including 10 soldiers. Hot weather and high winds played a role in fuelling these fires, during which the temperature reached 48 degrees Celsius.

Climate change causes heat waves and droughts to rise around the world, and with drought, plants store less water and grow slowly, leading to more of their dry leaves falling and the trees themselves dying quickly, providing a suitable environment for the spread of fires.

According to a paper published several years ago in the journal Nature, rainforest fires in the Amazon, for example, are not a natural event, but a combination of two elements: the severe drought that is increasing day by day due to climate change, and the human activities that negatively affect the nature of those forests.

In addition to the forest fires in Algeria, forest fires broke out at an unprecedented level in several countries, in Europe, for example, Greece recorded the strongest wave of greenhouse gas emissions from forest fires ever in 2023, and in the Pacific Ocean, the fire that broke out on the island of Maui, Hawaii, became the deadliest forest fire in the United States in more than a century.

The forest fires in Chile, which began in January 2023, were also one of the extreme cases, as they evolved to reach at least 406 fires, dozens of which were classified as serious fires, totaling more than one million acres, and killing 24 people, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency in multiple regions of the country.

Source : Websites + NASA