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catastrophe (noun) calamity; disaster.
A bad event that causes a lot of suffering to many people is a catastrophe. An event which results in a lot of destruction or in the death or injury to many people is a catastrophe. The bombing of a city in war, as in the case of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, is a catastrophe. A family experiences a catastrophe, if the family sustains terrible losses in its business and is left without money. A train accident or a plane crash leaving a number of people dead or injured is also a catastrophe. The spread of an epidemic disease causing a large number of deaths is a catastrophe.
- The recent Tsunami that started in Indonesia, and attacked the whole region from there to the southern coast of India, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives, is the worst catastrophe recorded in this century.
- Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prizes, had to face in his childhood the catastrophe of the death of a few of his brothers and sisters in an explosion, while they were involved in the manufacture of explosives, which was their family business.