18+ Useful Cantonese Disaster Words

The world is indeed beautiful. But, today, when mother nature gets mad, it’s terrifying. So, why don’t we learn some Cantonese disaster words 災難 Zoi1 Naan6?

Every country in the world has beautiful sceneries that belong to nature. There’s Mt. Everest in Nepal, Boracay in the Philippines, Halong Bay in Vietnam, and more. Of course, in Hong Kong, they have the Lantau South Country Park, Tai Mo Shan Country Park, and the Hong Kong Wetland Park. Indeed, mother nature has given us these beautiful gifts that are worthy of being treasured.

But, behind these beautiful sceneries, natural disasters can occur. To give you examples, there’s the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 1970 Bhola cyclone, and the 1887 Yellow River flood. The scariest part about these natural disasters is that we have no idea when and where they occur. Now, if you are listening to or watching the news, it is frequently happening in different parts of the world.

So, in this blog, we will learn different Cantonese disaster words. Aside from the Cantonese characters, I will also provide you with the romanization and the meaning so that you can easily understand the word or phrase.


Mandarin Chinese VS Cantonese Chinese

Before we learn some Cantonese disaster words, let us first learn the difference between Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese. These two languages might be somehow similar to one another but, they are totally different in many ways.

First, Mandarin has simpler strokes and fewer tones than Cantonese, which is why it is also known as simplified Chinese. Cantonese is called traditional Chinese because it has more complicated strokes and more tones. Mandarin is widely spoken in Mainland China, while Cantonese is widely spoken in Hong Kong.

There are lots of differences between these two languages. If you want to know more, there’s a blog that specifically talks about this. You can check it out here.


Natural Disasters In Cantonese

 災難 (Zoi1 Naan6) | Cantonese Disaster Words

 災難 (Zoi1 Naan6)

Before we learn about different natural disasters in Cantonese, let us first learn how to say “disaster” in Cantonese. Hongkongers use 災難 (Zoi1 Naan6) to say “disaster” in Cantonese. This can also mean calamity or catastrophe.

Now that we have learned how to say “disaster” in Cantonese let us learn the different natural disasters in the Cantonese language. Remember, Chinese languages are very particular with the pronunciation of the words. So, make sure to pronounce each character correctly.

水浸 (Seoi2 Zam3)

English Translation: Flood

One of the Cantonese disaster words that we will learn is flood 水浸 (Seoi2 zam3). Hongkongers are no stranger to ranging floods. In fact, on June 12, 1966, a torrential downpour turned the streets into torrents, killing at least 50 people. Fifteen inches of rain fell in 24 hours, causing cars to be tossed down the road like toys. This flood is already part of Hong Kong’s history that they will never forget.

Floods are inevitable, but you can do something to at least keep yourself when there’s a flood warning in your area. Here are some:

  1. Find a safe place to stay as soon as possible. Evacuate if needed.
  2. Store enough food for the family.
  3. Avoid crossing any bridges over fast-moving water.
  4. When it comes to information and directions, pay heed to the authorities.
  5. Except in an emergency, avoid driving.
  6. Be cautious of the possibility of electrocution.

颱風 (Toi4 Fung1)

English Translation: Typhoon/ Hurricane

The next word that we will learn under the Cantonese disaster words is 颱風 (Toi4 Fung1) or Typhoon in English. In Hong Kong, there’s this one typhoon which the effects are still fresh in the minds of the Hongkongers. This typhoon was called Typhoon Mangkhut. The tropical cyclone was dubbed “the most powerful to have blown across Hong Kong since records began in 1946” by the Hong Kong Observatory.

地震 (Dei6 Zan3 Or Dei6 Jan3 )

English Translation: Earthquake

The Hong Kong Observatory, which tracks seismic activity, says the chances of a major local quake happening are extremely remote. But, one great example of an earthquake that has been written in Hong Kong’s history is the 1918 Shantou earthquake. This is the strongest earthquake that occurred in Hong Kong, which caused panic in the whole Central District and minor damages to a few buildings.

龍捲風 (Lung4 Gyun2 Fung1)

English Translation: Tornado

Tornadoes are uncommon in Hong Kong, with an average of one per year. In fact, it’s only about once every one to two years that a tornado is reported. The most recent tornado in Hong Kong was a low-intensity tornado reported last September 25, 2020, which lasted for 20 minutes. There is actually video footage observed from Hong Kong International Airport.

雷暴 (Leoi4 Bou6)

English Translation: Thunderstorm

If you’re going on a trip to Hong Kong, make sure to check the Thunderstorm Warning on Hong Kong Observatory. Thunderstorms are widespread in Hong Kong during the spring and summer months. Did you know that Hong Kong Observatory has a “MyObservatory” mobile app where you can check the thunderstorm notices? It’s better to be safe than sorry.

海嘯 (Hoi2 Siu3)

English Translation: Tsunami

In recorded history, no tsunami has adversely hit Hong Kong, with the Philippines Islands and Taiwan acting as a near-complete breakwater for such tsunamis in the Pacific. Even so, this is still one of the Cantonese disaster words we need to know. The Hong Kong Observatory would release a Tsunami Information Bulletin to alert the public if a big tsunami was not projected to reach Hong Kong within three hours.


Other Disasters In The Cantonese Language

CantoneseJyutpingEnglish Translation
沙暴Saa1 Bou6Sandstorm
旱災Hon5 Zoi1Drought
雪崩Syut3 Bang1Avalanche
山泥傾瀉Saan1 Nai4 King1 Se3Mudslide
岩滑Ngaam4 Waat6Rockslide
山火Saan1 Fo2Forest fire
火山爆發Fo2 Saan1 Baau3 Faat3Volcanic Eruption
熔岩流Jung4 Ngaam4 Lau4Lava Flow
冰雹Bing1 Bok6Hailstorm
隕石撞擊Wan5 Sek6 Zong6 Gik1Meteor Impact
暴風雪Bou6 Fung1 Syut3Blizzard


Words And Phrases Related To Cantonese Disaster Words

After learning the different natural disasters in Cantonese, expand your vocabulary with these additional words and phrases related to Cantonese disaster words.

CantoneseJyutpingEnglish Translation
難民naan6 man4refugee
村落chyun1 lok6village
城市sing4 si5city
閃電sim2 din6lightning
出現cheut1 yin6to occur
破壞po3 waai6to damage
摧毀cheui1 wai2to destroy
引致yan5 ji3to cause
猛火maang5 fo2burning fire
被海嘯衝擊bei6 hoi2 siu3 cung1 gik1hit by tsunami
旱災情況gon1 hon5 cing4 fong3drought conditions
突如其來的沙暴dat6 jyu4 kei4 loi4 dik1 saa1 bou6sudden sandstorm
強烈的雷暴koeng4 lit6 dik1 leoi4 bou6severe thunderstorm
颱風登陸了toi4 fung1 dang1 luk6 liu5.The typhoon has hit.
地震令地面顫抖。dei6 zan3 ling6 dei6 min2 zin3 dau2.The earthquake is shaking the ground.
颱風從海洋吹到陸地。toi4 fung1 cung4 hoi2 joeng4 ceoi1 dou3 luk6 dei6.The hurricane is blowing in from the sea.
龍捲風正橫掃草原。lung4 gyun2 fung1 zing3 waang4 sou3 cou2 jyun4.The tornado is twisting across the prairie.
吉普車穿過洪水gat1 pou2 ce1 cyun1 gwo3 hung4 seoi2.The jeep is pushing through the flood.
雪崩把滑雪度假村摧毀了, 但幸好沒有人受傷。syut3 bang1 baa2 waat6 syut3 dou6 gaa3 cyun1 ceoi1 wai2 liu5, daan6 hang6 hou2 mut6 jau5 jan4 sau6 soeng1.The avalanche destroyed the ski resort, but luckily, nobody was hurt.


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