Dubai: The year 2010 will go down as the year when the Earth struck back. Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation.
More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.
But it was not just the earthquake in Haiti that killed at least 230,000 people and left millions homeless or the tremors in China and Chile that made headlines. The health care overhaul in the US, the release of Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the change of guard in the UK were all reported widely in the media. And towards the end of the year, the leak of diplomatic cables by Wikileaks, detailing the candid conversations between Washington and embassies around the world, has had the US scurrying for cover.
But one event which made an entranced global audience to sit up and watch was the rescue of 33 miners trapped half-a-mile underground in Chile for 69 days. During the first 17 days of the mine capsize, the men waited in a shelter in the dark, dank tunnel, resigning themselves to what looked like a slow death. But instead of another tragic mine disaster, Chile's experience became a redemptive lesson for the world. It was a miraculous feel-good story which galvanised a nation and made the miners celebrities. The rescue of the miners shone the spotlight on the never-say-die spirit that keeps mankind together and its hope. It is with this hope that we look to the new year, not knowing what it has in store for us.