From afar the Earth seems calm, a blue sphere turning peacefully in space, but travel closer and you find a turbulent and terrifying place. An atmosphere where hurricanes and tornados are spawned, and below that a realm of volcanos and earthquakes.
Starting just before New Year's Day, on Boxing Day 2004, the year 2005 was the most disastrous on record, with hundreds of billions of pounds of losses and more than half a million deaths. This programme covers the litany of planetary catastrophes, from the extraordinary Boxing Day killer tsunami in the Indian Ocean, through the great Kashmir earthquake to Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wrought on New Orleans, along with UK events, such as the Birmingham tornado, which reached the highest tornado category, yet miraculously killed no-one.
2005 saw an onslaught of epic-scale climate and geological events across the world, all caught on camera in the most spectacular fashion by professionals and amateurs alike. Using eye-witness footage, interviews with survivors and rescuers and analysis from geological and weather specialists, this documentary charts the incredible natural events of a year where almost every month was affected by a natural disaster.
At that time it was the hottest year on record, and the stormiest, people on every continent were affected in some way by the year’s disasters. World leading scientists and climatologists speculate whether the events have been triggered by a real shift in the earth's climatic systems.
Some of the natural disasters covered in this documentary :
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Asian Tsunami
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred on 26th December with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres high.
The 2005 Maharashtra floods refers to the flooding of many parts of the Indian state of Maharashtra including large areas of the metropolis Mumbai a city located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, on the western coast of India, in which at least 5,000 people died.
The Birmingham tornado was one of the strongest tornadoes recorded in the United Kingdom in nearly 30 years, occurring on 28th July 2005 in the suburbs of Birmingham. The tornado uprooted an estimated 1,000 trees, removed the roofs of buildings, picked up and deposited cars and caused other damage during its short existence.
The 2005 European floods hit mainly Romania, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, as well as several other countries in Central Europe and Eastern Europe during August. The disaster came at a time when Portugal was suffering from intense forest fires which left 15 dead.
Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most destructive Atlantic tropical cyclone of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. At least 1,833 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods. The most significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed.
The Kashmir earthquake occurred on 8th October 2005 and was centred in the Pakistan administered Kashmir near the city of Muzaffarabad, and also affected the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It registered a moment magnitude of 7.6. The government of Pakistan's official death toll was 75,000. The severity of the damage caused by the earthquake is attributed to severe upthrust, coupled with poor construction.