Sunday, 16 January 2011

2011 - The Year of the Flood?

What's happening to the world? We may only be a few weeks in but all I seem to hear on the news is that another country has been affected by flooding. My earlier post focused on the floods in Queensland but since then many other places have been affected by this unforgiving natural disaster. 

Courtesy of The Guardian

Intense rainfall has left the eastern part of Brazil experiencing river flooding and mudslides, killing more than 400 people and disrupting infrastructure, which is now restricting the rescue of some of the more isolated areas in the region. 
According to the Guardian heavy rains triggered the worst landslides in Brazilian history, sending mud sweeping through towns and burying entire families as they slept. The picture on the left shows which of the towns have been most affected by the disastrous mudslides. 

Reported on the BBC news, residents of the affected communities feel the local government is to blame due to the lack of safe buildings and illegal operations in the area. This more than ever highlights the need to build and design sustainable communities so the people forced to live in these areas are not put at risk of flooding or any other natural disaster which may occur. Could this level of devastation have been prevented by better urban planning?

In Sri Lanka homes and agricultural land has been submerged with water leaving crop yields and ultimately a food supply destroyed. This country has experienced a heavier than normal monsoon season with the BBC claiming that over 1 million Sri Lankans have been affected by the floods here. With food crops being destroyed the only question left unanswered is who is going to help these people?

Sri Lankans affected by floods, January 2011
Courtesy of the BBC

Ahmed Lebbe, a farmer, wades through paddy crops in flood-hit Sri Lanka, January 2011
Courtesy of the BBC

Once again a heavier than normal monsoon season has led to floods and mudslides in the Philippines, killing many and displacing many more. The floods in the Philippines have had the least amount of new coverage but the BBC reports that over 300,000 people have now fled their homes in this region and are receiving government food aid. Approximately 25,000 people are currently living in evacuation centres in nearby towns. 

The eastern cape province in South Africa has also been hit recently by intense thunderstorms leading to localised flooding the New York Times reported.

According to the BBC, the South African Government are about to declare parts of the country affected by the floods a disaster area after a number of people have died during the last month.

And currently here in the UK, the Environment Agency has issued flood warning across England and Wales and are putting up temporary defences in Cumbria to protect homes from potential flooding. 

With all these terrible disasters happening all over the planet I'm going to end this blog the same way I started it - What is happening to the world?

The Met Office has recently produced a good document to try and explain the reasons for the flooding these countries are experiencing. According to the Met Office, a natural cycle known as La Nina, which occurs every few years, means that rainfall which would normally fall over the pacific has moved to the west over Indonesia and parts of Australia.
The Met Office also suggests that this is not linked to climate change as these cycles have been going on for a long time. This document is very informative and I suggest you all check it out. The link to the website is below.

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