Pompeii & Other Natural Disasters

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Pompeii & Other Natural Disasters

To coincide with the release of Pompeii on DVD and Bluray we take a look at some of history’s worst natural disasters.

The world has witnessed numerous disasters over the centuries and although most are man-made due to wars and terrorism, Mother Nature can inflict far worse death tolls through earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and volcano eruptions. Killing, injuring, and destroying everything in its path.

Natural disaster movie Pompeii (starring Kit Harington) is set in the titular ancient Roman city-town that was lost from history. The film acutely recreates the harrowing tragedy of Pompeii which was wiped out overnight and buried under 20ft of ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The prospect of being caught in a natural disaster is terrifying, and perhaps that is the reason for our fascination. To coincide with the home release of Pompeii, we have compiled a list of the most terrifying natural disasters throughout history.


Haiti Earthquake

Earthquake – Haiti 2010

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake which took place on 12 January 2010. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The government of Haiti also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged.


Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina – United Stated 2005

In the early morning of 29 August 2005, Atlantic hurricane season; Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it had a Category 5 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale–it brought sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour–and stretched some 400 miles across. The storm itself did a great deal of damage, but its aftermath was catastrophic taking 1,833 fatalities and causing $100 billion in damage, making it the deadliest and the most costly natural disaster in the history of the United States.


Indian Ocean Tsunami

Earthquake / Tsunami – Indian Ocean 2004

The Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred on the morning of Sunday 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.
The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and inundating coastal communities.


Bhola Cyclone

Bhola Cyclone – India 1970

The 1970 Bhola Cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India’s West Bengal on 12 November 1970. It remains the deadliest cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying Islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm of the 1970 North Indian cyclone season, and also the season’s strongest, reaching a strength equivalent to a strong category 3 hurricane.


China Great Floods

The Great Floods – China 1931

To this day, the China flood of 1931 is regarded as the most devastating water-related disaster anywhere in the 20th century, perhaps ever. During the flood, over 140,000 Chinese drowned, 3.7 million were killed in the 9 months that followed as more than 70,000 square miles flooded, often over 10-15 feet deep for periods of 3 -6 months. The flood began with record summer rainstorms all across China and in August, all hell broke loose as China’s 3 primary rivers, the Yangtze, the Hwang and the Hwai each burst their banks, surpassing all previous flood levels.


Syria Earthquake

The Deadliest Earthquake – Syria 1201

On July 5th, 1201 in Egypt and Syria, the deadliest earthquake in recorded history struck making it one of the worst natural disasters of all times. This disaster rocked the eastern Mediterranean and killed over 1.1 million people, destroying countless homes. Nearly every major city within the near east felt the effects.


Mount Vesuvius Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius Eruption – Pompeii, Italy 79A.D.

The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the commune of Pompeii. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 – 20 ft of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Researchers believe that the town was founded in the sixth or seventh century BC by the Osci or Oscans and was captured by the Romans in 80 BC. By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was approximately 11,000 persons, and the city had a complex water system, and amphitheatre, gymnasium and a sport.



Set in 79 A.D, POMPEII tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harington – Game of Thrones), a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a terrible race against time to save his true love Lady Cassia (Emily Browning – Sucker Punch). As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena as the once magnificent city crumbles around him and becomes engulfed in scorching magma.

There is a fascinating bonus featurette on the Pompeii DVD & Blu-ray which covers how director Paul W.S. Anderson captured and recreated the mammoth disaster onscreen. The clip titled ‘The Volcanic Eruption’ shows details of the falling ash, the fire, the bay of Naples bursting with water flushing over the city and the stunning visual effects that was used to recreate the top of Mount Vesuvius before it collapsed to form the volcano it is today.

Pompeii is released on DVD and Bluray on Monday 15th September and can be pre-ordered now.


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Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd

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