More deaths are caused by floods than other disasters; Bangladesh is flanked by rivers and plagued by monsoon seasons. In 1979, the Morbi Dam collapsed; a water wall demolished the town, killing 15,000. In 2005, the Kosi River bank burst, diverting water to Bihar; it killed 2,000 people and damaged many villages.
In 1931, the Yangtze, Yellow, and Huai Rivers all breached their banks. An estimated four million died from drowning, disease, or resulting famines. In 1994, authorities started construction on a dam near Hubei; its failure would result in bigger catastrophe than prior events.
Classifications: Riverine (03:37)
Floods are created when water overwhelms the landscape; many are created by river bank failure. In 1937, hundreds of miles of Ohio were submerged; 385 died, and one million were left homeless. In 2007, several waterways in Britain flooded; one million were impacted and three billion pounds in damages were reported.
Classifications: Estuary and Coastal (03:42)
Estuary floods are created when water comes in from river and coastal tides; levels are increased by storms and high waters. In 1962, North Sea surges deluged Germany's coast, killing 300. In 2004, an earthquake triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami, killing 225,000; Hurricane Katrina killed 2,000 Louisiana residents in 2005.
Classifications: Catastrophic and Flash (04:13)
Catastrophic floods are created by unexpected events; in 1959, the Malpasset Dam collapsed, killing 400 people and destroying two villages. In 1952, a high moor was overwhelmed by massive rainfall, deluging Lynmouth and demolishing buildings with boulders and uprooted trees.
North Sea Flood (06:01)
In 1953, a massive storm off Britain combined with high tides to create the country’s worst natural disaster of the 20th century; 307 died, 30,000 were evacuated, and 24,000 buildings were damaged. In the Netherlands waves overwhelmed dykes; 70,000 evacuated, and 1,836 died. Both countries made improvements to defenses and warning systems.
In 1959, Nagoya was pummeled by waves driven by Typhoon Vera. Thirty foot water walls destroyed the coast, demolishing transportations systems and leaving one million homeless.
Arno River ruptured its banks in 1966, flooding Florence; artwork, books, and ancient antiques were destroyed. Venice experienced its worst deluge in 1,000 years when the Pellestrina dyke burst; two days of heavy rains, high tides, and storms impacted one third of the country.
Hurricane Agnes (02:52)
In 1972, the south eastern United States was impacted by a massive storm; President Richard Nixon declared two thirds of Georgia a disaster area. Six days of high winds and unrelenting rainfall created the greatest flood emergency in North American history; 200,000 evacuated, and three billion in damages were reported.
Oder River burst through its banks after heavy summer rains in 1997; 55 died and 200 bridges were wiped out. Authorities requested international aid, triggering a huge rescue effort; damages took 10 years to repair.
Protective Systems (07:42)
In Britain, five million people live in flood zones; the Environmental Agency broadcasts warnings, and the Thames barrier prevents estuary deluges. Half of the Netherlands is below sea level; Delta Works provides extensive defenses. In Italy the MOSE raises when sea levels rise.
Credits: Torrents Of Terror (00:29)
Credits: Torrents Of Terror
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