The year 2010 has been the deadliest year for natural disasters in more than a generation.
A record amount of earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super-typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people this year, compared with just 15,000 in 2009.
"It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves," said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency handled a record number of disasters in 2010.
The Haitian earthquake, Russian heat wave, and Pakistani flooding were among the deadliest events.
Disaster experts say poor construction practices have made natural disasters more deadly than they need be.
Disasters from the Earth, such as earthquakes and volcanoes "are pretty much constant," said Andreas Schraft, vice president of catastrophic perils for the Geneva-based insurance giant Swiss Re. "All the change that's made is man-made
Some scientists also blame global warming for the extreme weather.