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With the heavy shadow of the Covid-19 outbreak looming over 2020, not only has the year dragged on for what seems to have been an eternity, but it has also been difficult to penetrate back through the year and remember what actually happened. So, let’s take a look back at all the adversities that humanity faced in this winter of anxiety called the Year 2020.
On top of the global pandemic and the knock-on effects of Covid-19, a series of natural disasters have perpetuated through 2020 and added to the struggles of the year.
In January, the eruption of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines caused massive damage to crops, animals, and property, and lead to the deaths of 39 souls.
The second month of the year, February saw historic flooding of the Pearl River in the US, affecting around 120 homes and businesses, coupled with huge wildfires in California, that raged for a very long time and affected huge swathes of land.
Bushfires in Australia also dragged on from the end of 2019 to May of 2020. Called the “Black Summer,” the wildfires ravaged over 25 million acres of land, caused 39 deaths, destroyed 3,000 homes, and forced the Australian government to move the country into a state of emergency.
In Ukraine’s Chernobyl exclusion zone, fires burned throughout April, leading to an increase in the radiation levels and air pollution in parts of the world.
Throughout this year, over 45 major earthquakes with a magnitude of 6 or above hit places across the globe and brought damages to areas in countries like Russia, Turkey, India, China, and the Philippines.
Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic has been the most notable and devastating mass-event of 2020, with it being officially declared a global pandemic in March. The effects reached further than the lockdowns of entire countries and cities, as it disrupted the world on a mass economic, social, and personal scale unheard of ever before in our lifetimes.
Prior to the pandemic, in January, UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump were major political talk, whilst the US and Iran threatened full-scale war after a series of military skirmishes following the killing of the powerful Iranian general Qasem Solemani by an American military strike.
In May, the murder of George Floyd by a police officer sparked global racial tensions and led to protests around the world, most notably in America, where peaceful BLM demonstrations led to rioting and clashes between protestors and police.
From June onwards, demonstrations in Hong Kong also took place against plans to allow extradition to mainland China, resulting in the bill ultimately being withdrawn in September.
In August, a major gas explosion in Beirut shook the country of Lebanon. A fire at the Port of Beirut on the city’s Mediterranean coast caused a massive blast, that levelled buildings and killed around 200 people.
Whilst in November, the 2020 US presidential debate saw tensions being accentuated by the presence of the pandemic as incumbent President Donald Trump faced off against, and lost to Democrat candidate Joe Biden.
Though 2020 has been a year of hardships, natural and social disasters, tense political events, and the overbearing weight of the Covid-19 pandemic, the wake of the year presents an opportunity for rebuilding and needed change. The actuality of a long-promised vaccine in December and the hope of full inoculation by Summer 2021, suggests that we may be leaving the pandemic behind us in the new year, whilst also highlighting the need for protection strategies against similar events in the future.
This year has been a lesson, prompting social rebuilding and the need for change following the actions of the BLM movement in 2020. Therefore, hope and learning for a more equal future and a stronger society are what we are faced with, on the verge of 2021.