5 of South Africa's most destructive natural disasters

5 of South Africa's most destructive natural disasters

South Africa has had its share of natural disasters and we have put together a list of the worst 5 that have hit our beautiful country.

Here at Briefly.co.za we have dived our list into four categories, earthquakes, storms, wild fires, and floods.


The worst earthquake to hit South Africa was in Tulbagh, an area located in the Winelands area of the Western Cape, on the 29th of September 1969, it measured a staggering 6.5 on the Richter Scale, the most recent powerful earthquake in Orkney only measured 5.5. The Tulbagh earthquake remains the most destructive in South African History. The earliest reported earthquake took place on Robben Island in 1620 however the accuracy of the account has been questioned.

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5 of the worst natural disasters to hit South Africa


The Cape Storm which hit Cape Town on the 7th of June 2017 was extremely destructive with 120km/h winds causing massive waves 9-12 metres high. The storm caused 8 deaths and damaged 135 schools across the Western Cape. The storm resulted in 50mm in rain to fall but did not break the drought affecting the area. The storm was particularly destructive due its impact on the fires were which raging in Knysna.

5 of the worst natural disasters to hit South Africa

Wild Fires:

The most destructive fire South Africa has experienced was the recent Knysna Fires which took place in June this year. The fires displace approximately 10.000 people and destroyed an estimated 600 structures. Seven people lost their lives in the fires. The official report of the fires is to be released but what we do know is that the Knysna fires were fueled by between 20 - 30 individual fires which were fueled by strong winds from the powerful storm that hit the Cape on the 7th of June.

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5 of the worst natural disasters to hit South Africa


On the 25th of January 1981, the town of Laingsburg was devastated by a severe flood which left over a hundred people dead, 72 of the victim's bodies were never recovered. 184 houses were destroyed and only 21 houses remained standing in the town. The town was hit by a flash flood after very heavy rains (425mm over two days) which caused the nearby Buffalo River to burst its banks which resulted in the entire town being covered in the deluge.

Special Mention:

The Natal Floods of 1987 are still considered South Africa's worst natural disaster due to the high loss of live and human misery it inflicted. A staggering 506 people lost their lives and 60,000 people were affected. Hospitals were stricken with critical water shortages due to infrastructural damage. The hardest hit were the informal settlements which in some cases were entirely washed away.

It appears that the Western Cape has had it's fair share of natural disasters.

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Source: Briefly News

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