Best photos of 2018: Death, destruction and a flicker of hope captured in photos

Natural disasters, political events, human drama captured in photos

Tragedy and drama, both natural and man-made, feature prominently in this year's best photos.

One of the worst disasters of the year was the quake that struck Indonesia's Central Sulawesi in September. The 7.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami levelled entire towns and killed more than 2,200. And in the latest disaster in Indonesia, a tsunami in the Sunda Strait killed scores of people. There were also destructive earthquakes in Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Japan and elsewhere.

A warming planet created fiercer storms, as Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines and Hurricane Florence in the United States demonstrated, forcing many from their homes.

Meanwhile, wildfires swept through Europe in the summer, from Greece to as far north as Sweden, while the Camp Fire became the most destructive wildfire on record in California last month.

Natural disasters were not the only events that displaced people.

The seven-year war in Syria continues, causing millions to flee their homes and to seek refuge abroad. Another group of refugees was Myanmar's Rohingya people, many of whom are still in camps in Bangladesh, where they fled to escape the violence in their country which the United Nations has termed a genocide.

Thousands of migrants seeking asylum continued to make their way to the US, such as the "caravan" that crossed Central America in October, despite threats of deportation by the Trump administration. The separation of migrant children from their parents has outraged the world and many families have not been reunited.

 
 

Many memorable images were also created by politicians.

In April, South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchanged a historic handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as hope of peace between their nations rose.

The following month, an image of nearly 300 boxes of designer handbags being loaded into a police truck offered a sign of the troubles to come for former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak.

Lighter moments came via the royal wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and American Meghan Markle in May and the World Cup in Russia in July, which France won.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2018, with the headline 'Death, destruction and a flicker of hope'. Print Edition | Subscribe