Volcanoes, plague, famine and endless winter: Welcome to 536, what historians and scientists believe was the ‘worst year to be alive’

At least three dead in Haiti rains, flooding: Official

Two days of heavy rains and the resulting floods have killed at least three people in Haiti, according to the head of the country’s civil protection authority.

The rains are the most recent natural disaster to strike the Caribbean nations, where death tolls are often high due to the poor state of housing and lacking infrastructure.

The death toll was reported on Tuesday, hours after rescuers began evacuating people in high-risk zones, where thousands of homes have been flooded and some 2,500 families have been displaced.

The north of the country has been the hardest hit, with water filling the historic centre of the city of Cap-Haitien, and strong winds downing trees. Authorities said at least 20 districts across Haiti have been affected by the violent weather.

“We have 3 fatalities in the (Nord-Ouest department) and one person missing,” civil protection director Jerry Chandler told Reuters news agency in a text message…READ ON

Volcanoes, plague, famine and endless winter: Welcome to 536, what historians and scientists believe was the ‘worst year to be alive’

It’s only February and already 2022 is shaping up badly. A huge volcanic eruption off the coast of Tonga, the prospect of war with Russia, the ongoing pandemic (and its economic disruptions). And that’s even before we touch on Chinese sabre-rattling over Taiwan or Sex and the City’s disastrous reboot.

Welcome to the New Year: as ghastly as the old one.

536 is the current consensus candidate for worst year in human history

A history of bad times

I write not to make light of our world’s very real problems, but rather to put them into some perspective. 2020, 2021 and perhaps now 2022, have all been bad.

But they have not been worse years than, say, 1347, when the Black Death began its long march across Eurasia. Or 1816, the “year without a summer”. Or 1914, when the assassination of an obscure Habsburg archduke precipitated not one but two global conflicts – one of which brought about millions of deaths in the world’s most horrific genocide…READ ON

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