The World Meteorological Organisation of the United Nations has recognised the 1970 cyclone that killed 300,000 people in the southern region of East Pakistan — now Bangladesh — as the deadliest natural disaster ever.
The horrific death toll in the cyclone was mostly due to a large storm surge that overwhelmed the delta and tidal flats along the shores of the Bay of Bengal, based on a report prepared by the UN body.
The claimant for “highest mortality associated with a tropical cyclone” occurred in Bangladesh (at time of incident, East Pakistan) on 12-13 November, 1970.
This notorious tropical cyclone is sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Bhola Cyclone’ with an estimated 300,000 (low end) to 500,000 (high end) storm-related fatalities (mostly the result of a large storm surge overwhelming the islands and tidal flats along the shores of the Bay of Bengal).
As with any disaster of this magnitude, exaggerated death tolls are frequently common and official values difficult to obtain, but the committee agreed that the low-end estimate was more accurately documented, according to the WMO report.