Disasters in 2008
Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
- Jan. 1-4, Kenya: more than 300 people are killed and thousands of houses, farms, and businesses are burned nationwide in violent riots between Luo and Kikuyu tribes after incumbent president Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, defeats opposition candidate Raila Odinga, a Luo, in the presidential election.
- Jan. 7-8, Ark., Ill., Mo., Wis.: a series of tornadoes caused by record-breaking temperatures kill at least six people, including two children, destroy houses, and flood roads.
- Jan. 28, eastern and southern China: severe snowstorms leave at least 24 people dead and affect 78 million people overall, including 827,000 emergency evacuees. About half of the 31 provinces are without power, which strands at least 600,000 train passengers, and at least 19 major airports close. The economic cost of the storm is projected to be $3.2 billion.
- Feb. 3, Dem. Rep. of the Congo: at least 45 people are killed and about 450 more are injured after two strong earthquakes, one at 6.0 magnitude and the other at 5.0, strike the Congo.
- Feb. 5-6, Tenn., Ark., Ala., Ky., Mo.: at least 55 people are killed and hundreds more are injured after violent tornadoes rip through the southern United States. According to emergency officials, the victims include 31 people in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, 7 in Kentucky, and 3 in Alabama.
- Feb. 7, Georgia, U.S.: an explosion at an Imperial Sugar Refinery near Savannah, Georgia kills 14 people and injures many more.
- Feb. 21, Venezuela: a Venezuelan passenger plane crashes into an Andean Mountain within the Sierra La Culata National Park killing all 46 people aboard.
- March 14-15, Georgia: two people are killed and at least 30 people are injured when violent tornadoes strike Atlanta and northwestern counties of Georgia including Polk County and Floyd County. The storms cause damage to the CNN Center, the Georgia Dome, and the Convention Center in Atlanta, and leave thousands of homes without power statewide.
- March 17-19, Ark., Ill., Ky., Mo., Ohio: thirteen people die, hundreds of people are evacuated from their homes, and hundreds of roads are closed during major floods that stretch from Texas to Pennsylvania.
- Ongoing since January, Brazil: More than 80 people have died and at least 75,399 are infected in Rio de Janeiro since January during a dengue fever outbreak. In March, the Brazilian military opened three field hospitals to help control the epidemic. In April, after a month of heavy rains, trained members of the army and navy start a 30-day tour in the Rio State to idenitify mosquito breeding grounds and educate residents on dengue fever prevention.
- April 29, Virginia: Three tornadoes strike Norfolk, Suffolk, and Colonial Heights, injuring over 200 people and destroying at least 140 homes.
- May 1-2, Arkansas: seven people are killed and 13 more are injured in Arkansas when storms hit 16 counties.
- May 3, Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis hits the Irrawaddy Delta and the city of Yangon, killing about 78,000 people. Most of the deaths and destruction were caused by a 12-foot-high tidal wave that formed during the storm. Cyclone Nargis is the worst natural disaster since the tsunami in 2004.
- May 11, Okla., Mo., Ga.: more than 20 people die and hundreds more are injured when tornadoes hit Missouri, Oklahoma, and Georgia. Racine, a town about 170 miles south of Kansas City, Missouri saw the most damage, leaving about 9,000 people without electricity for over three days.
- May 12, China: over 67,000 people die and hundreds of thousands more are injured when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake strikes Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan Provinces in western China. Nearly 900 students are trapped when Juyuan Middle School in the Sichuan Province collapses from the quake. On May 19, 158 rescue workers are killed in landslides caused by rain and floods. On May 27, 150,000 people are evacuated from the Sichuan Province in anticipation of major floods.
- June 9-18, Ind., Iowa, Ill., Mo. and Wis.: severe flooding from storms cause already-swollen rivers and lakes to flood, killing 10 people, breaking three dams, and causing thousands to evacuate their homes. In addition, at least 90 roads are closed. According to the National Weather Service, the Cedar River is 17 feet above flood stage, the worst flooding Cedar Rapids has ever seen.
- June 11, Iowa: a tornado kills 4 Boy Scouts and injures 48 others when it tears through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in western Iowa. The tornado also touched down in Kansas, killing two people.
- June 17, southern China: the worst flooding in 50 years kills over 60 people, destroys 5.4 million acres of crops, causes landslides, and leaves 13 people missing in nine southern Chinese provinces.
- June 21, the Philippines: a ferry, the Princess of the Stars, is struck by Typhoon Fengshen, killing most of the 865 passengers and crew. There are 59 known survivors. Almost 500 other people die during the storm.
- July 24, Japan: at least 90 people are injured and thousands of homes lose power when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake strikes 67 miles below the earth's surface in the region of Iwate.
- July 27, southeastern Europe: five days of heavy rain cause major flooding in the Ukraine and Romania, killing 18 people and causing at least $300 million in damages.
- Aug. 1, Pakistan: a large mass of ice breaks on K2, the world's second-highest mountain, causing an avalanche that kills 11 climbers and injures several others.
- Aug. 4, Himachal Pradesh, India: almost 150 people die when rumors of a landslide cause pilgrims to stampede during a festival celebrating the Hindu mother goddess at Naina Devi temple in India.
- Aug. 5, northern California: nine firefighters die when a helicopter crashes and burns in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The cause of the crash is unknown.
- Aug. 10, Toronto, Canada: explosions at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gasses facility force thousands of people in Toronto to evacuate their homes. Some residents suffer injuries and one firefighter dies.
- Aug. 20, Madrid, Spain: at least 153 people die when a 160-person passenger plane skids off the runway and bursts into flames during takeoff at Barajas airport in Madrid.
- Aug. 23, southern U.S.: at least 12 people die and thousands of homes and businesses are flooded when the slow-moving tropical storm Fay makes landfall four times in Florida and Georgia.
- Aug. 25, Chamonix, France: eight climbers die after an avalanche near Mount Blanc bury them under 165 feet of ice.
- Aug. 28-Sept. 1, India: flooding from the Kosi River in the northern state of Bihar causes the deaths of at least 75 people and the displacement of over 2 million more. At least half a million people are left stranded, while half a million others are living in unsanitary relief camps.
- Aug. 28-30, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti: at least 137 people die and many more are injured when Hurricane Gustav makes landfall in the Caribbean. Thousands are left homeless and without food and water.
- Sept. 1, U.S. Gulf Coast: Hurricane Gustav forces the entire city of New Orleans to evacuate, leaves more than one million homes without power, and kills at least 26 people in Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.
- Sept. 5, Haiti: Tropical Storm Hanna strikes Haiti, killing hundreds of people and leaving many more injured or missing in the port city of Gonaives.
- Sept. 7-8, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos islands: at least 61 people die in Haiti, 4 more are killed in Cuba, and 80% of homes are destroyed on Turks and Caicos islands when Hurricane Ike strikes the Caribbean.
- Sept. 12, California: a metrolink commuter train collides with a freight train northwest of Los Angeles, killing 25 passengers.
- Sept. 13-14, southern U.S.: Hurricane Ike hits Texas and causes at least 50 deaths, thousands more to evacuate their homes, and millions to lose power in Houston alone. Ike hits the island city of Galveston Bay the hardest, knocking out water, power, and sewer lines. Despite requests to evacuate, at least 15,000 people remained in Galveston amid worsening sanitary conditions.
- Sept. 14-16, midwestern U.S.: as Ike travels inland, the storm weakens to a tropical depression, but torrential rain causes severe flooding and power outages in parts of Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. At least 17 people die and more than two million homes and businesses lose power.
- Sept. 30, India: over 100 people die and hundreds more are seriously injured when a wall of the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, northern India, collapses during the Navratra religious festival and causes a stampede.
- Oct. 6, Kyrgyzstan: at least 70 people die, hundreds more are injured, and hundreds of homes are destroyed when a 6.6 magnitude earthquake strikes the Osh region, leveling the entire town of Nura.
- Oct. 8, Nepal: a Yeti Airlines passenger plane, flying from Kathmandu to Lukla in eastern Nepal, bursts into flames on the runway while landing in heavy cloud, killing 18 of the 19 people on board—only the Nepalese pilot survived.
- Oct. 29, Pakistan: a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hits southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 170 people and destroying over 15,000 homes.
- Oct. 30, India: a series of explosions in the northeastern region of Assam kill at least 55 people and wound more than 200 more.
- Nov. 7, Haiti: over 90 students die and over a hundred more are injured when a poorly constructed church-run school collapses on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.
- Nov. 9, the Sea of Japan: in the most deadly accident on a Russian submarine since 2000, 20 people die and 21 more are injured when two compartments of a new Russian nuclear submarine flood with Freon gas during tests in the Sea of Japan.
- Nov. 15-18, California, U.S.: fueled by hurricane-strength Santa Ana winds, three fires burn for several days, consuming 40,000 acres of land and hundreds of homes. A state of emergency is called in five counties.
- Nov. 22-23, Brazil: at least 119 people die and over 80,000 homes are destroyed when heavy rains dump more water on the southern state of Santa Catarina than it normally gets in months, causing floods and mudslides throughout the region.
- Dec. 11, New England, U.S.: at least 800,000 homes are left without electricity for several days after an ice storm hits New England. President Bush declares a state of emergency in parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, sending in FEMA to set up shelters and National Guard troops to help restore power lines.
- Dec. 28, Canada: eleven people on snowmobiles are buried when two avalanches hit Harvey Pass, a popular backcountry snowmobile destination in British Columbia. Three snowmobilers survive, while eight others remain buried.