There is a high probability that a major disaster could strike the world within the next 10 years, new research by a top international financial institution, Deutsche Bank, has predicted, as cited by the Daily Star, putting a staggering 33 percent chance stake on the forecast.
The latter centres around the possibility of four biblical-level disasters befalling the world - a massive killer flu pandemic wiping out two million people, a supervolcano eruption, a major solar flare from the Sun, or even World War 3.
The authors of the report believe any of these could lead to total chaos in global infrastructure. For instance, if a solar flare like the one reported 150 years ago hit, it could arguably render major infrastructure, like electrical grids, satellite networks, and the internet inoperable. The 1859 solar storm referred to as the Carrington Event, the strongest on record, set auroras flaring as far south as Cuba, and caused telegraph lines across North America to fail.
Among the other examples cited are the remote Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland which shut down almost all European air space in 2010, and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which affected average temperatures around the world for the subsequent two years.
"There could be major power outages as electrical power grids are disrupted, which in turn would have knock-on effects throughout the economy as critical infrastructure is unable to be run properly", the report says, adding the stakes of the chilling scenario will be even higher in the next 20 years - an additional 56% chance of some catastrophe hitting the planet.
"Communications would be disrupted, many payment systems would be dysfunctional, and GPS satellites would face extensive interference, to the detriment of all the individuals and industries that rely on accurate location services, not least aircraft", the forecast goes on, warning that numerous lives would be lost if medical and social care fell victim to the cataclysms.
Deutsche Bank, which carried out the research on behalf of their clients, said: "Before COVID-19 occurred, Madhav et al estimated there was an annual probability of 2% that an influenza pandemic will cause 2.2 million pneumonia and influenza deaths or more globally". Citing the example of the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, which brought about a pervasive recession, the bank concluded that a “more serious pandemic could be even more catastrophic".
The worrisome forecast came as the whole world, which has hitherto been shut down due to the sweeping coronavirus pandemic, has embarked on easing most restrictions, with air travel unfreezing, along with parks, schools, and other public spots reopening.