From a horrifying series of attacks in Paris, to Nepal’s massive earthquakes, to the scores killed by Boko Haram, 2015 has been a year of disaster, terror and extremism for many around the world. With the year drawing to an end, Pulse.com.gh wants to reflect on the year that was and extend heartfelt sympathies for all those affected by loss and terror this year and hope for a better 2016.
Here are 15 of the most significant disaster and terror events of 2015.
On April 25, Nepal was rocked by a massive earthquake which killed more than 9000 people, and a second large aftershock struck the nation on May 12, killing a further 153 people and injuring thousands.
The earthquake triggered an avalanche, and left homes in rubble across the nation, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, and aid agencies rushing to bring them shelter before their rainey season hit soon after.
Friday 13, November 2015 will be etched into our collective memories. On this date, terrorists carried out attacks across France’s capital. 130 people died, and hundreds were wounded.
Terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack which resulted in a state of emergency for France and Brussels.
The most deaths were at the Batacan, a venue hosting a rock concert where three armed attackers created carnage when they opened fire, killing 89 people.
On the same night, there were two explosions at the stadium Stade de France, and a third nearby, killing a passerby and three suicide bombers.
Gunmen, armed with assault rifles also killed 15 people at the intersection of Rue Alibert and Rue Bichat, in the 10th district of Paris. Many of the victims were gathered at a bar and a restaurant. In the 11th district of Paris, a further five people were killed in a shooting outside Café Bonne Biere, and another 19 at another restaurant, La Belle Equipe. Another suicide bomber targeted a restaurant in the 11th district, seriously injuring one person inside, injuring others and killing himself.
Refugee boats sinking
Migrants escaping their war-torn countries have been dominating headlines around the world as politicians, pundits and the public argue over the help that should be extended to their plight. Some want increased numbers of refugees to be allowed into their countries, others want to turn their backs. There have been many stories of overloaded boats capsizing, causing the deaths of desperate people fleeing their homes.
One of the worst incidents was on April 19, where it was estimated over 800 perished after a boat capsized after leaving Libya.
Boko Haram’s reign of terror
2015 has been a disturbing year looking at the activities of Nigeria terror group Boko Haram, starting with the January 3 Baga massacre, where Boko Haram attacked Baga, resulting in conflicting report of death tolls, some as high as 2000. It continued through the year raiding towns in Nigeria and Cameroon, killing or kidnapping residents and torching homes. Militants also attacked multiple mosques this year, killing many people.
They have also attacked Chad with suicide bombs at police sites.
Another year, and another host of mass shootings in the USA. Obama’s speeches after each incident saw him get more frustrated with the lack of gun laws, which many say would prevent each shooting.
Most recent was December 3 in San Bernardino, where 14 were killed and 21 wounded when a married couple opened fire on a holiday party.
A few days before that, a gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. and started firing, killing three people.
Earlier in the year, a suspected white supremacist started firing on a group gathered at a traditionally African American church in South Carolina. A man has been charged with nine counts of murder.
Accra floods and explosion
Accra was hit by heavy rain in early June, resulting in mass flooding in the capital. People took shelter at a GOIL station near the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange when an explosion occurred, killing over 200 people in the area.
In the following days, President John Dramani Mahama visited the site, and called for three days of mourning over the losses starting on 8 June 2015; he also authorized a GH₵ 60 million ($14.5 million) recovery fund. Mahama also stated he would push for legislation to prevent building on waterways in order to prevent such accidents happening again.
Egypt plane crash
A terrorist bomb brought down a plane over Egypt’s Sinai desert in October, killed all 224 people on board, mostly returning Russian holidaymakers.
The Kremlin said it was a homemade bomb that brought down the Metrojet airliner confirming the plane was destroyed by a terrorist act.
Russian president, Vladimir Putin, vowed to find and punish those responsible and ordered an increase in airstrikes on Syria as “inevitable retribution” for the attack.
As The Guardian reported, as Russian warplanes struck Raqqa, the Isis base in Syria, and other targets, Putin said: “It [the air campaign] must be intensified in such a way that the criminals understand that retribution is inevitable.”
Flooding in Malawi
Flooding in Malawi in January claimed 276 lives and forced President Peter Mutharika to declare half of the densely populated country a disaster zone.
Nearly a quarter-million people in Malawi were affected, including 230,000 injured, The Guardian reported. The floods ravaged about 158,000 acres of land and were estimated to have cost the nation about $51 million in damage. Most people in the country survive from subsistence farming, but crops of maize were destroyed and livestock killed.
Unicef launched a $9.3m appeal to cover its emergency response for three months.
Kenya’s Garissa University attack
In early April this year, al-Shabab militants stormed Garissa University in the north-east of Kenya, killing 147 people, mostly students, who were in their classrooms preparing for exams.
Witnesses to the attack said the heavily armed attackers targeted Christians.
More than 500 students managed to escape, 79 of whom were injured.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it a "terrorist attack" and said the UN was ready to help Kenya "prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism".
The BBC reported Al-Shabab said it attacked the university because it is at war with Kenya - Kenyan troops entered Somalia in October 2011 in an effort to stop the Islamists from crossing the border between the two countries and kidnapping people. However, this provoked al-Shabab to increase its activity in Kenya, the BBC said.
2015 Hindu Kush earthquake
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck South Asia on 26 October, with its epicentre in Afghanistan.
The Indian Express reported more than 300 people died in the quakes that hit Pakistan and
According to Afghan and Pakistani officials, 237 people died in Pakistan and 74 in Afghanistan in the magnitude-7.5 quake, which was centered deep beneath the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan’s sparsely populated Badakhshan province that borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China.
More than 2,000 people were injured and nearly 2,500 homes were damaged in Pakistan, officials said. In Afghanistan, the Government said 266 people were injured.
Ankara Turkey attack
A rally for peace in Ankara, Turkey in October took a devastating turn when suicide bombers killed 102 people.
The twin explosions outside Ankara’s main train station targeted hundreds of people who had gathered to protest against violence between authorities and the Kurdish militant group, the PKK.
Two bombers carried out the attacks which shook Turkey, which borders Syria and has taken in thousands of Syrians displaced by the ongoing conflict.
Siege of Kobani
2015 has been as year of horror for citizens stuck in Syria. Kobani, A Kurdish city in the north of Syria on the border of Turkey was in the international headlines this year as a combination of suicide missions and attacks on Kurdish civilians by ISIL in June, leaving 223–233 civilians dead, as well as 35–37 Kurdish militiamen and at least 79 ISIL assailants.
The June attack included car bombs and militants shooting citizens. It committed a massacre in the village of Barkh Butan, about 20 kilometres south of Kobanî, executing at least 23 Syrian Kurds, among them women and children.
Tunisia hotel attack
Holidaymakers were gunned down at a Tunisian beach hotel in June, where 30 of the 38 people killed were UK citizens. A gunman raided a beach hotel in Sousse, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Three months before, on March 18 the Bardo National Museum in capital Tunis was attacked by three terrorists, leading to the deaths of twenty-two people, including twenty foreigners visiting the museum, and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and threatened to commit further attacks.
More than 700 pilgrims who were visiting Mecca in Saudi Arabia, died in a stampede in September.
Authorities said 717 people died, with 863 injured, in a stampede at a crossroads in the Mecca neighbourhood of Mina as Hajj pilgrims walked towards a structure designed to ease congestion.
Saudi authorities were accused of mismanagement and safety errors during the pilgrimage
India Heat Wave
In May, India suffered heat waves which killed more than 1800 people.
The high temperatures caused water shortages in thousands of Indian villages.
Most of those killed by heat-related conditions including dehydration and heat stroke were in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.