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October 2015 Current Events: Disasters & Science News

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Here are the key events in science and disasters news for the month of October 2015.

  • Mudslide Kills Dozens in Guatemala (Oct. 2): A landslide kills 131 people and buries 125 homes in Guatemala. The death toll is expected to climb with more than 300 people still missing. The landslide occurs after two weeks of consistent rain causes a hillside to collapse. It is one of the country's worst natural disasters in years.

    Guatemala mudslide
    Rescue Workers at the site of the mudslide in Guatemala, Oct. 2015
    Source: AP Photo/Moises Castillo

  • Patricia Strongest Pacific Hurricane to Hit Landfall (Oct. 23): Hurricane Patricia becomes the most powerful tropical cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere when its winds reach an unprecedented 200 mph. Beginning as a tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific, Patricia rapidly intensifies into a Category 5 hurricane and also breaks the record for the lowest pressure (880 millibars) of any hurricane in history. Patricia weakens by the time it makes landfall near Cuixmala, Mexico, but still causes an estimated $283 million dollars in damage to Central America, Mexico, and Texas. At least eight people are killed directly from the hurricane.

  • 7.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits South Asia and Kills Hundreds (Oct. 26): A 7.5 magnitude earthquake strikes South Asia. At least 364 people are killed. More than 2,000 are injured. Thousands of buildings and homes are destroyed. Many of the hardest hit areas are in remote, mountainous areas, which are difficult for rescue teams to reach. The earthquake's epicenter is just north of Alaqahdari-ye Kiran wa Munjan, Afghanistan. The majority of the deaths and injuries are in Pakistan. Tremors are also felt in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

  • Russian Airliner Crashes in Egypt (Oct. 31): Airbus A321-200, an 18-year-old Russian passenger plane, crashes just 20 minutes after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. All 224 people on board are killed. Investigators exploring the debris say that the plane's fuselage disintegrated in the air while flying over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The cause of the disintegration is not immediately known. However, The Sinai Province of the Islamic State, an ISIS offshoot, claims responsibility for bombing the plane.

    Russian plane crash in Egypt
    Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, right, looks at the remains
    of the Russian passenger jet in Hassana, Egypt., Oct. 31, 2015
    Source: Suliman el-Oteify/Egyptian Prime Minister's Office via AP, File