Infrastructures are valuable elements that keep a country functional and operational. Because of their importance, the government of every country should take concrete steps to make sure that their infrastructures are well maintained. This is to avoid accidents that would not only affect the country’s economy, but possibly take many lives as well.
Below are seven of the most deadliest infrastructure tragedies of all time, based on their death tolls:
Although the earthquake that caused havoc in this little island was more natural rather than man made, what made the Haiti incident so tragic were the poor measures its government took to prepare for such an incident. For years geologists had warned about the possibility of a great earthquake happening because of the island’s location. Still, poor infrastructure coupled with gross neglect led to an estimate death toll of 316,000 in the January 2010 tragedy.
Quebec Bridge Collapse
One of Canada’s major bridges collapsed twice in history—claiming a total of 95 lives. Both collapses, which happened in 1907 and 1916, were caused by an error in the construction design, making the carrying capacity of the bridge less than the weight of the bridge itself.
Silver Bridge Collapse
Silver Bridge connected West Virginia and Ohio for thirty-nine years before it collapsed in 1967, due to stress corrosion cracking on one of the major links near the Ohio tower. The tragedy claimed a total of 46 lives.
In what is considered a catastrophic nuclear accident, the Chernobyl Disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, when an explosion and a succeeding fire released huge quantities of radioactive particles in the air, affecting most of Europe. Thirty-one people died because of the explosion, not counting the casualties that the radiation will cause in upcoming years.
I-75 Car Pile-up
A dense fog on the morning of December 11, 1990 covered a section of I-75 in Tennessee and caused a seventy-car pile-up that stretched for half a mile. Motorists were unable to see road markings and warning posts supplied along the highway because of the low visibility. Thirteen lives were lost in the incident, and a lot more people were injured.
I-5 Thanksgiving Tragedy
On November 29, 1991, strong winds swept across I-5 in California amid the mad inflow of traffic caused by people going home after Thanksgiving weekend. The wind blew over an unplanted farmland and whipped up a dust storm, causing low visibility and a disastrous 104-car pileup. By the time rescuers managed to get to the scene, 17 people have already died and 150 more were severely injured.
Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster
On March 11, 2012, a tsunami hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan and caused the meltdown of three of its six nuclear reactors. March 12 saw the release of a substantial amount of radioactive materials which spilled both in the water in the plant and the sea. Although the total death toll is unconfirmed, the possible radiation effects in succeeding years are a cause of more concern.
Infrastructure tragedies caused by natural disasters are unavoidable, but men should take initiative and prepare against them as best as they can. On the other hand, man made tragedies can be minimized, if not completely avoided, by careful planning and proper maintenance of said infrastructures.