Earthquakes, and quite often the subsequent landslides and tsunamis, have the ability to cause widespread death and enormous damage to cities.
Here is a timeline of some of the world's most deadly earthquakes over the past three decades.
August 20, 1988
A magnitude-6.8 quake hit eastern Nepal, killing 721 people in Nepal and at least 277 in the neighbouring Indian state of Bihar.
July 16, 1990
A magnitude-7.7 quake struck the heavily populated northern Philippines island of Luzon.
October 19, 1991
A quake measuring magnitude-6.6 hit the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh state in India, killing 768.
September 29, 1993
A magnitude-6.3 quake hit the western Indian state of Maharashtra, killing 7,601.
January 16, 1995
A powerful magnitude-6.9 quake hit Kobe in southern Japan, then one of the country's largest quakes in decades. The disaster led to fires which set parts of the city ablaze and left thousands homeless.
Papua New Guinea
July 17, 1998
A magnitude-7.1 hit at a depth of 25 kilometres on Papua New Guinea's north coast near Aitape. The quake caused a landslide and tsunami which killed more than 2,000 people.
August 17, 1999
The magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck western Turkey occurred on the well-known North Anatolian fault. Approximately 500,000 people were left homeless with the city of Izmit particularly hard hit.
Deaths: More than 17,000
September 20, 1999
A magnitude-7.7 quake in Taiwan, its worst in decades, killed thousands of people and caused damage to about 100,000 homes.
January 26, 2001
A massive magnitude-7.7 earthquake hit the western Indian state of Gujarat, killing 25,000 people and injuring 166,000.
March 25, 2002
Twin earthquakes hit Afghanistan's Hindu Kush region, one measuring magnitude 6.1.
December 26, 2003
A quake measuring magnitude 6.7 hit the Iranian city of Bam, killing more than 31,000 people and injuring 18,000.
December 26, 2004
A massive undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra island triggered a tsunami which killed more than 220,000 in countries around the Indian Ocean, including 168,000 in Indonesia.
October 8, 2005
A magnitude-7.6 quake killed more than 75,000 people, the vast majority of them in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and the Pakistani-administered zone of Kashmir state. About 3.5 million people were displaced.
Deaths: more than 75,000
May 26, 2006
A powerful quake in Indonesia's Yogyakarta region killed almost 6,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.
April 2, 2007
A magnitude-8.1 quake hit at a depth of 10 kilometres near Solomon Islands' provincial capital of Gizo. A tsunami that followed killed 52 people and destroyed several villages.
May 12, 2008
A powerful quake measuring magnitude 8.0 hit China's south-west province of Sichuan, leaving more than 87,000 people dead or missing.
September 29, 2009
A powerful undersea quake measuring magnitude 8.1 hit the Samoa Islands region causing a tsunami which killed scores and damaged homes.
September 30, 2009
A magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit off the southern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The epicentre was 45 kilometres west-north-west of Padang. Thousands were injured and more than 130,000 homes damaged.
January 12, 2010
A catastrophic magnitude-7.0 quake hit Haiti, leaving between 250,000 and 300,000 dead. It razed much of the capital Port-au-Prince and left Haitians in desperate need of food and shelter.
Deaths: Up to 300,000
April 14, 2010
A magnitude-6.9 quake hit Yushu county in north-west China's Qinghai province leaving thousands dead and missing.
February 22, 2011
A shallow magnitude-6.3 earthquake struck 10 kilometres south-east of Christchurch on New Zealand's south island causing widespread damage.
March 11, 2011
Nearly 18,900 were killed when a tsunami, triggered by a massive magnitude-9.0 undersea quake, slammed into the north-east coast of Japan, triggering a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant.
Overall deaths: 20,896
October 23, 2011
A magnitude-7.2 quake rocked eastern Turkey, leaving hundreds dead and at least 4,150 injured. Rescue workers pulled a 13-year-old boy alive from the rubble almost five days after the quake struck, causing a national sensation.
Deaths: More than 600
August 11, 2012
Twin earthquakes measuring magnitude 6.3 and 6.4 left hundreds dead and more than 3,000 injured near the Iranian city of Tabriz. Officials said half of the 600 villages located in the disaster area were damaged or destroyed.
September 24, 2013
A magnitude-8.3 struck at a depth of 20 kilometres north-east of Awaran, killing more than 800 people. One of the poorest areas in the country, more than 100,000 people were left homeless.
August 3, 2014
A magnitude-6.2 quake struck near Ludian county in Yunnan province killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands. Scores of poorly constructed buildings also collapsed in the quake.
April 25, 2015
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Nepal's eastern district Lamjung at a depth of 8.2km. The quake, including a massive aftershock in May, killed and injured thousands and destroyed ancient monuments, including UNESCO heritage site Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu. The disaster also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and the Langtang valley. Hundreds were left homeless.
Deaths: More than 9,000
August 24, 2016
A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck Appenines region of central Italy, killing almost 300 people. Most of the buildings in the quake zone had no anti-seismic protection, but some of those that did also fell apart.
December 7, 2016
A magnitude-6.4 earthquake in Indonesia's Aceh province flattened popular markets, mosques and other buildings in the region near Banda Aceh, which was famously hit by a tsunami in 2004.
September 7, 2017
The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in more than 80 years, a magnitude-8.1 quake hit near the town of Juchitan on the nation's southern coast, in what was described as "the most terrible moment in [Juchitan's] history".
Authorities warned of aftershocks and, indeed, another powerful quake hit the country just 10 days later.
September 19, 2017
A major magnitude-7.1 earthquake hit central Mexico, collapsing at least 44 buildings in the capital Mexico City, one of the world's biggest cities.