Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:
The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 7th, currently stands at 5,500 people. Haiyan was the fourth strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded and is the deadliest in Philippine history (the second-deadliest was Tropical Storm Thelma, which killed around 5,080 people in 1991). To compare, here are some mortality figures from other large-scale natural disasters that have taken place in recent history.
Typhoon Bopha, Philippines, December 2012 – 1,146 dead
Hurricane Sandy, U.S Eastern Seaboard, October 2012 – 286 dead
Earthquake and Tsunami in East Japan, March 2011 – 15,800 dead
Earthquake in Haiti, January 2010 – 159,000 dead
Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast, August 2008 – 1,833 dead
Earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan and India, October 2005 – 100,000 dead
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, December 2004 – 250,000 dead
In addition to the number of victims, there are certainly many other factors to consider when assessing the impact that natural disasters have on humanity. The magnitude of a disaster can be measured in absolute terms, such as the aforementioned mortality rate, as well as the physical extent of the area affected, the volume of infrastructure destroyed, and the financial cost of reconstruction.