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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

Entertainment

Queer People Are Shouting Their Gratitude For Naya Rivera’s Trailblazing Character Santana Lopez

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There are few queer characters the people can point to in the past as being someone that changed their lives. Santana Lopez, Naya Rivera’s character on “Glee,” is one of them. Even if you’ve never watched “Glee,” Rivera’s character touched you because of how that representation is so important and empowering.

Naya Rivera’s place in LGBTQ+ media representation will be her long-lasting legacy.

Rivera brought us Santana Lopez, a queer Latina navigating the world of high school in a small town. For many, this kind of representation was so rare and often poorly done that Rivera’s command of the role was impactful. You didn’t have to be an avid viewer of the show to understand and appreciate the magnitude of Santana Lopez.

Rivera brought our experience directly to the mainstream and forced our own classmates to think about the way they saw queer people.

Rivera’s ability to capture the awkwardness and terror of being a closeted queer student in high school still resonates. It is a piece of nostalgia that is so deeply ingrained in queer people that it’s hard not to be emotional about Rivera’s sudden and tragic death.

Who can forget the moment Santana used “Landslide” to tell Brittany that she loved her.

The emotion of a love that is not easy to confess and live authentically is real. Ask any queer person you know about coming to terms with her sexuality in high school and you will hear about the fear and excitement. You will hear about the strategic allyships that epitomize the constant battle between being open and staying safe.

Rivera was more than an actress, she was an ally and advocate during her time on “Glee.”

Season 2, when Rivera’s feelings for Brittany (played by Heather Morris) grew, aired from 2010 to 2011. It was a time when marriage equality was not nationwide. Some states still barred same-sex couples from adopting children. Yet, queer high school and college students had a chance to see their experience mirrored because of Rivera’s insistence.

Rivera’s death is a major loss for the queer community that got our strength and courage from her.

Knowing that all of the “Glee” fans were rooting for and falling in love with Santana Lopez gave us a chance to breathe and feel accepted. Adding her Latina heritage was so important. Queer people of color, who have faced increased scrutiny from their own families, had someone representing them completely and sincerely.

Demi Lovato paid tribute by remembering the time she played Santana Lopez’s girlfriend.

The queer Latina love was not lost on fellow queer Latinos. Lovato herself was not out about her sexuality at the time and she admits in her post that Rivera inspired her. Rivera’s efforts to give the character an accurate and respectful storyline will forever be praised and admired as a fully realized manifestation of our experience.

Thank you for being someone we didn’t know we needed, Naya.

Our hearts are broken and our eyes are wet. We send love and hope to your loved ones. Rest in power, mija. We love you and will never forget what you did for our community.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

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Naya Rivera’s Body Found In Lake Piru After Going Missing During Outing With Son

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Update: Naya Rivera’s body has been found in Lake Piru after she went missing last week. Rivera’s disappearance has sent shockwaves of grief throughout the entertainment community as days passed and authorities combed the lake.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Naya Rivera’s body has been pulled from Lake Piru.

Naya Rivera was last seen July 8 when she rented a boat for an outing with her young son. Later that day, men on another boat found the rented boat with her son asleep by himself on the boat. The search for Rivera was frantic as family, friends, and fans publicly grieved the sudden disappearance.

Last week, the sheriff’s department told the public that it was unlikely Rivera’s body would resurface because of debris.

At a press conference, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said that the debris of trees and plants under the water could cause the body to be entangled under the surface. Coupled with the poor visibility underwater, Office Sgt. Donoghue was not optimistic about the department’s chances of finding the body.

“We’re putting our best foot forward to try and locate her. We’re using all the assets that are available to us. We’re using technology like sonar,” he said at the press conference. “We have experts who have dove this lake who know it inside and out, where debris pockets might be, we’re relying on their expertise to help us in that endeavor. We’re going to do everything we can to find her.”

Original: “Glee” star Naya Rivera is presumed dead after going missing in southern California. The actress was on a boat in Lake Piru with her 4-year-old son when she went missing July 8 in Ventura County.

Authorities are searching for Naya Rivera after going missing.

Naya Rivera is presumed dead after her young son was found alone in a boat in Lake Piru. The lake is in Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. Rivera’s son was found asleep on the boat three hours after Rivera rented the boat for the mother-son outing. According to officials, the son said that he and Rivera went for a swim and that she didn’t get back on the boat. CNN reports that the child was wearing a life vest while an adult life vest was found on the boat.

The search was paused overnight between Wednesday and Thursday and resumed as a recovery mission.

Fans do not think that Ventura County Sheriff’s are doing enough in the search for the actress. Emotions are high as fans share their grief and shock at Rivera’s sudden disappearance. According to Deputy Chris Dyer, the water where the boat was found is about 40 feet deep and that wind is a big factor in that part of the lake.

Authorities have classified the search as a recovery in a signal that they believe Rivera to be dead.

A recovery mission means that authorities are looking to recover a body from the lake. The news has devastated Rivera’s friends and family who want her brought home safe. Her son is reportedly doing well and is with relatives as authorities search for his mother in the lake.

Celebrities are sending messages hoping for Rivera to be alive.

Rivera wrote a memoir titled “Sorry, Not Sorry,” which gives an intimate look into her life during and after “Glee.” The actress was open and honest in her memoir bringing up some of the darkest and toughest times she endured and how it shaped her in the years that followed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rivera’s loved ones.

This story is developing. mitú will report updates as they become available.

READ: Naya Rivera’s Memoir Talks About Abortion And Anorexia