Things That Matter

11 Of The Deadliest Natural Disasters in Latin America

Violent natural disasters have claimed lives around the world since the dawn of time. Latin America is far from an exception, as natural disasters have caused profound human loss, as well as environmental destruction and financial loss. Events that cause the highest death tolls are geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, mudslides, floods, storms, extreme temperatures, fires and droughts. From the oldest to the most recent events on record, here are the deadliest disasters to strike Latin America:

1. 1906 Valparaiso earthquake in Chile

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At 8.6 on the Richter scale, the 1906 earthquake that hit Chile’s port of Valparaiso claimed 20,000 lives. This photograph depicts the immense damage at a church called Iglesia La Merced.

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This old photograph called Valparaiso despues del Terremoto (Valparaiso after the earthquake) shows the decimation of a busy market in wake of the disaster. 

2. Chile’s most deadly quake hits in 1939

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Sadly, Chile’s most deadly earthquake was yet to come. While it was a slightly smaller quake at 8.3 magnitude on the Richter scale, the 1939 earthquake in Chile’s capital Santiago left 28,000 people dead and many more maimed.

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This photograph depicts an article published in a Santiago newspaper just 2 days after the quake. The death toll was still being counted.

3. 1949 Ambato earthquake in Ecuador

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The earthquake that shook Ecuador on August 5th, 1949, was the largest to strike the Western Hemisphere in over 5 years. Although it’s commonly referred to as the Ambato earthquake, it actually hit a village called Pelileo in the Tungurahua Province southeast of its capital Ambato, claiming 5,050 lives. This photo shows the ruins of a church called Santa Rosa after the quake as children stand in the rubble.

Disaster Strikes Ecuador. Life magazine August 22, 1949

At 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale, this disaster killed more than 5,000 people and left many more homeless. Life Magazine reported in its August 22nd, 1949 issue: “The subterranean shock flattened villages and towns in a 1,500-mile area along the eastern Andes.”

4. Hurricane Flora Hammers the Caribbean Islands in 1963

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On October 4th, 1963, Hurricane Flora became the 7th deadliest-ever hurricane to hit the Atlantic, resulting in more than 6,000 fatalities in the Caribbean. Haiti and Cuba were hit the hardest. 

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As a category 4 storm, Flora caused structural damage on a catastrophic scale.

5. The Great Peruvian Earthquake of 1970

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The most catastrophic disaster in Peru’s history happened when the Ancash earthquake struck on May 31st, 1970, killing 66,000 people. At 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, the quake levelled northern Peru and left over 800,000 citizens homeless. This photo was snapped as Peru’s First Lady and U.S. First Lady Pat Nixon inspected the earthquake’s damage.

Twitter @NixonLibrary

The earthquake triggered landslides and avalanches that caused the death toll to skyrocket after the quake itself was over. One landslide traveled 16.5 kilometers, buried the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca, and claimed 22,000 casualties on its own.

6. Guatemala’s Earthquake of 1976

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On February 4th, 1976, an earthquake rocked Guatemala, causing widespread damage, including in its capital Guatemala City. This picture was a photographer’s depiction of Guatemala’s Hotel Terminal after the wreckage.

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With a magnitude of 7.5, Guatemala’s earthquake left around 27,000 people dead, caused massive structural damage and rendered millions of people homeless. This photograph shows a bridge that collapsed from the quake.

7. 1985 Mexico City Earthquake

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In the wee early hours of September 19th, 1985, Mexico City was shaken up by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake, killing 9,500 citizens in and around the city. It made the cover of Time Magazine on September 30th, 1985.

Wikipedia, Public Domain

This photograph shows the devastating collapse of Mexico City’s General Hospital.

8. Nevado del Ruiz Volcano

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On November 13, 1985, Columbia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted and buried the neighboring town of Armero, resulting in about 25,000 deaths. The eruption triggered a deadly landslide from the Andes Mountains, where this photo was taken.

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The lava rushing from the volcano wreaked havoc on structures and homes, as you can see in this scene from the disaster.

9. Hurricane Mitch

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In October of 1998, Hurricane Mitch tore through several countries of Central America, including Honduras and Nicaragua. This photo reveals the devastation seen in the town of Morolica in Honduras.

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The category 5 storm reached peak winds of 290 kph, destroying homes in its wake. It also  Around 9,000 people lost their lives in Hurricane Mitch, making it the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record.

10. Venezuela Mudslides of 1999

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On December 15, 1999, flash floods from torrential rains sparked mudslides in the coastal state of Vargas, causing around 30,000 deaths–about 10 percent of the population in Vargas. Debris swept through the cities, causing damage for days after the mudslides began.

Twitter: @kvijayavel

The avalanches of mud, rock and debris that swept down from hillsides swept up thousands of people and even buried entire neighborhoods. Many were stranded on rooftops as the mud veered around their apartment buildings, and unfortunately, there was no organized rescue effort.

11. Hurricane Maria

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Not long ago on September 20th, 2017, Hurricane Maria brutally charged through Puerto Rico and left behind a massive death toll that climbed to 3,000. After Hurricane Irma hit just weeks earlier, Hurricane Maria made landfall as a category 4 storm with high winds and storm surge.

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Maria struck down cell towers and power lines, some of which were never repaired, causing millions of citizens to live without power. The death toll rose due to an extended lack of power in hospitals and other places where people depended on electricity. 

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Entertainment

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

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¡Mi gente! Your faves could never. Latin music domination continues around the world with the top spots of global streaming platforms being stacked with Latinx artists. What a time to be alive. Remember when we all had to pretend Drake was Dominican to get some kind of representation out here? But when you think about the sheer number of people on the planet that speak Spanish, it totally makes sense that Latinx artists would have such a massive reach. 

And let’s be real, while fluency helps, you really don’t have to be proficient to enjoy reggaeton. The energetic, pulsating beats can compel anyone to move. Do you really think everyone in the United States knew the English translation of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” in order to enjoy it? Music transcends language and so does Colombian trap artist J Balvin apparently. Do you think anyone even noticed that the lyrics in “Harlem Shake” are largely in Spanish? Nope. 

J Balvin is here to stay.

For six consecutive weeks, J Balvin has chopped the global charts on YouTube. That’s a total of 1.26 billion views on the platform. 

“Artista más visto en YouTube Global,” Balvin wrote in an Instagram caption.

This comes as no surprise to Balvin fans. In 2018, Balvin ousted drake as the most-streamed artist worldwide on Spotify. The singer surpassed 48 million monthly listeners last summer thanks to his single “X” with Nicky Jam which streamed over 327 million times. Balvin is in great company on the global charts with Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna all in the top 10. The trio’s single “China” with Anuel AA and Karol G is currently number 1 on the YouTube global charts and number 2 in the United States chart. However, we’re pleased to note that “Señorita” by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes is topping the charts in the states. 

Balvin shouts out his Latinx fans. 

“Artista más escuchado en el mundo en @spotify posición #1 que celebro con todos mis latinos y los soñadores. Gracias Gracias Gracias,” Balvin wrote in the caption. 

Our boy is famous basically everywhere?

The top countries streaming Balvin’s music are Mexico with 240 million views, Argentina with 121 million views, and Colombia with 121 million views. The United States is in fourth place with 112 million views, followed by Spain, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela. But fear not, Balvin has fans in at least 100 different countries according to YouTube. 

We stan a humble king of the masses!

Like, literally could you imagine how this level of adoration and attention would completely warp your mind? I would be a monster. I would build a house out of fan mail and then set it ablaze just to laugh at my stupid fans. I’d have so many, who cares! Meanwhile, the artist, who typically regales his followers with personal messages on Instagram every morning at 5 a.m., knows how to connect with his fans. Balvin even served ordinary people from a coffee cart in New York City the other day. 

“Buenos días , buenos días , buenos días !!!!! ARCOÍRIS TOUR empieza 30 de Agosto en Puerto Rico !! Choliseo,” he wrote on Instagram. 

 We stan a humble king of the masses!

This isn’t the first Latin wave (and it won’t be the last).

In the 1990s, the late and great Selena catapulted Tejano and Cumbia music into the mainstream American consciousness. This ushered in the era of the “Latin Explosion” where legends were born. Ricky Martin, Thalía, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer Lopez made their marks. Hell, even Frank Sinatra personally invited Luis Miguel to record a duet of “Come Fly With Me” on his 1994 album Duets II. 

In the 2000s, there was the “Latin Pop Boom” that saw the likes of Shakira, Paulina Rubio, and Christina Aguilera topping the charts. You may even remember non-Latinx artists trying to ride the wave with Beyoncé collaborating with Shakira on the duet, “Beautiful Liar,” and releasing a Spanish language version of the single “Irreplaceable.” It almost feels odd to call these decades different waves or eras when it is pretty clear Latinxs have been consistently rocking the charts since Gloria Estefan in the 1980s. Since then, in the United States, we have been blessed with many more Latinx acts including the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Becky G, and Cardi B. And of course, there are all the amazing imports from Latinx countries around the world. If we want to continue this Latinx chart domination, I only have one piece of advice: stream “China” by J. Balvin on YouTube and Spotify!

Sparking Tequila: It Better Be On The Menu At Your Next Pool Party Or I’m Not Going

Culture

Sparking Tequila: It Better Be On The Menu At Your Next Pool Party Or I’m Not Going

@AzulanoTequila / Twitter

Summer 2019 is officially the summer carbonation took over the hearts and minds of the the adult beverage industry. Natty Light, PBR, Four Loko, and practically any alcohol company with a pulse who can make and bottle boozy seltzer jumped on a train that continues to bubble out of control.

The next phase of the sparkling beverage boom: Sparkling tequila.

LA-based Pure Azul just announced that it will be rolling out Azulana sparkling tequila this week in California, producing the first and only beverage on the market made with 100% blue agave tequila and sparkling soda.

Crafted in Jalisco, Mexico, it comes canned in three flavors: Original (… tequila-flavored sparkling soda), Lime, and Pineapple Rosemary. Azulana sparkling tequila will be released in 12-oz. cans, containing 4.3% ABV with 145 calories.

In other words, the legit perfect drink for summer. You just may want to break out some sal y limon to fully enjoy it. 

The three flavors are each unique and, not gonna lie, sound straight up tasty.

Credit: @AzulanoTequila / Twitter

According to the company’s website, the “Original” flavor goes down smooth with a “lightly sweet” and “slightly tart” taste.

The “Pineapple Rosemary,” meanwhile, boasts a fruity, herbal flavor somewhat reminiscent of flowers, while the “Lime” option is zesty and tropical.

Sparkling tequila is the the latest in a total takeover of the alcoholic beverage industry by sparkly, bubbly bebidas. 

Clearly, Azulana looks to capitalize on two glaring beverage industry trends: The proliferation of sparkling hard seltzer and the continued success of tequila, which Azulana notes “continues to thrive.” In 2017, for example, the US saw an 8.5% increase in tequila liter sales over the previous year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

In a press release, Katie Pittman, Head of Sales and Marketing at Pure Azul notes, “Our goal is to help others understand that tequila isn’t just enjoyed during a wild night out – with Azulana, it can truly be enjoyed during all occasions – anywhere, anytime.”

It’s also good timing – tequila sales are up up up across the US. 

It may not seem like it to those of us who regularly order the Patron or some Cuervo when we having a party, but it’s true. Tequila sales are booming in the US. In 2017, for example, tequila sales were up 8.5% from the year before. 

So if there was ever a time to enter the tequila business – it would be now. Make them coins. 

The grand unveiling was August 22nd at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

And, of course, it made its debut at a Rolling Stones concert. Because I guess tequila and Stones go together like…sal y limon? 

But don’t worry if you didn’t make it to that concert. You won’t have to wait long. The sparking tequila beverage will be available at Bristol Farms supermarkets in Southern California from August 28th before expanding to other markets and regions from then. 

While some seemed to at least be open to the idea…

I mean, it all really depends on your feelings towards sparkling drinks to begin with. If you’re already a fan, then sparkling tequila isn’t too much of a stretch. 

Mexicans were openly skeptical.

But let’s note, many on Latino Twitter basically said they were simultaneously fascinated and disgusted by the idea of sparkling tequila.

And a few people pointed out that summer is nearly over. 

But if you have sparking tequila at your house…is summer ever really over? I don’t think so. 

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