The 1970 Bhola cyclone was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and India's West Bengal on November 11, 1970. It was the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern times. Up to 500,000 people lost their lives in the storm, primarily as a result of the storm surge that flooded much of the low-lying islands of the Ganges Delta. This cyclone was the sixth cyclonic storm of the 1970 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, and also the season's strongest, reaching a strength equivalent to a strong Category 3 hurricane.
The cyclone formed over the central Bay of Bengal on November 8 and travelled north, intensifying as it did so. It reached its peak with winds of 185 km/h (115 mph) on November 11, and made landfall on the coast of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) that night. The storm surge devastated many of the offshore islands, wiping out villages and destroying crops throughout the region. In the most severely affected upazila, Tazumuddin, over 45% of the population of 167,000 was killed by the storm.
The Pakistani government led by junta leader General Yahya Khan was severely criticized for its delayed handling of the relief operations following the storm, both by local political leaders in East Pakistan and in the international media. The opposition Awami League gained a landslide victory in the province, and continuing unrest between East Pakistan and the central government triggered the Bangladesh Liberation War, which led to widespread atrocities and eventually concluded with the creation of the country of Bangladesh. This storm as well as the war would also inspire ex-Beatle George Harrison and Bengali musician Ravi Shankar to organize The Concert for Bangladesh, the prototype benefit concert, to raise money for aid, in 1971.