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2005 was a year of massive, and deadly, natural phenomena. Among other things, there was the Indian Ocean tsunami that devastated a huge area, and killed more than 283,000 people, and the October 7.6 earthquake in the Kashmir region, which killed more than 87,000. And this year’s seasonal hurricane patterns morphed into “long tail” damage that Hurricane Katrina caused around New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast. And here’s something else nature engenders: the sudden rise of new strains of viruses, which this year led to new-found concern about bird flu.

Major Natural Disasters
With seven major storms, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active in more than 150 years of record-keeping. The tsunami, the result of a 9.0 earthquake in the Indian Ocean, hit on December 26, 2004, but of course its effects have lasted throughout this year. As for the Kashmir earthquake that occurred on October 8, it measured 7.6 on the Richter scale.

Natural Disasters
Two Hurricanes
Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast hard, weakening the Crescent City’s old levees. The massive damage caused by flooding, the subsequent chaos, evacuation, and problematic rescue responses Katrina triggered made this a major and sustained news story with a very long tail. Weeks later Hurricane Rita was cause for concern, but not on the same scale in terms of searches. .

The Newest Flu
Searches for seasonal keywords like “flu” tend to follow distinct patterns – say, showing a high volume throughout the winter season (in the northern hemisphere). But in 2005 a new type of flu came to the world's attention: avian flu. See the effect it had on overall “flu” searches as news and information about this new strain proliferated.
The Newest Flu

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