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Flood Lessons Learned, Essay Example

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Words: 909

Essay

Introduction

Flooding has been a natural hazard in most parts of the world posing significant risk to commercial properties, homes and people. Hundreds thousands people have experienced the adverse effects associated with floods in the past 50 years. Majority of people have been forced out of their homes and they have survived in open sky. Floods arising out of natural disasters have been common in most parts of the world over the last 50 years. It is important to look in to the regions that have experienced floods by governments in an effort to emphasize on efforts geared at prevention as well as relief. This serves as a clear guide on areas that need to be given specific attention. The lessons learned from floods over the last 50 years are resourceful to the governments in taking appropriate measures to minimize the adverse effects brought about by floods currently (Disaster Assistance Project, 1970)

The starting point is identification of causes of floods and what factors favor their occurrence. The prevalence of floods over the last 50 years has been favored by some factors. Global warming is tending towards its worst and it is a possible cause of flooding. With the heating up of the surface of the earth, icy areas tend to melt resulting to oceans, lakes, rivers as well as streams to rise and consequently flooding occurs. The water cycle is also affected resulting to higher rains which consequently lead to flooding. Population density also has some connection to flooding since flooding effects becomes more severe with overcrowding.

Lessons to Be Learnt From Floods

As is the case with most disasters, the impact of flood is not determined by the damage caused by the flood water alone but also the long term economic and health effects on the vulnerable people. All forms of relief aid should be directed to affected communities within the shortest time possible. Over the years, people, communities and nations have learnt important lessons from the destructive and untimely effects of floods. Some of these lessons include;

  • Need to prioritize relief aid to those most in need; in majority of flood lessons, it is often difficult to ensure that all vulnerable people are accorded the necessary assistance. Aid agencies should accordingly dedicate their resources to overcoming such obstacles and not just concentrate on those people who are easy to reach (Sundar, 2007, 57).
  • Need to help affected communities to cope with losses and resume normal lives; where external assistance is nominal, vulnerable communities are often left to develop their own strategies and means of coping with flooding. There is an urgent need to institute programs which support these communities directly in their efforts to recover, in both the short term and long term (Shailendra, 1998, 146).
  • Thorough needs assessment; the situation on the ground should determine the kind of aid to be given to the affected people. All aid should help people and should be of the right kind based on accurate information obtained from the disaster area (Timothy et al, 2001, 247).
  • Going beyond the obvious; relief programs and needs assessment should be focused beyond the obvious needs and assess structural weaknesses which result into vulnerability. While relief is offered with the aim of saving lives, its delivery and distribution should be designed to contribute to long-term improvement of living standards, as well as, mitigation of future catastrophes (Harsh, 2003, 213).
  • Early warning; vulnerable people need early warning, but most of these communities do not have the capacity to respond effectively to early warnings. In developed countries, the vulnerable are assisted by their governments to respond early enough but in poor countries, such support by the government are limited and often insufficient to meet all needs.
  • Flood risk reduction; management of floods covers very large catchment areas. Management programs should therefore include participation of the affected communities and protection should be focused beyond technical fixes and take into account socio-economic considerations (John & Petaluma, 1982, 134).

These lessons are very important and have been applied in many flood situations to offer timely support to the affected communities. This way, it has been easy to reduce the number of causalities resulting from the effects of floods. The infamous flood that hit Pakistan in 2010 was a good example that demonstrated the need to apply these lessons to save lives and reduce the level of impact. While the government of Pakistan was aware of occurrence of the terrible floods, it was not easy for the government to respond early enough. One reason was that Pakistan is less developed country and lacked the capacity to relocate the millions of people living in the vulnerable territory.  In addition, government efforts at the time were focused on fighting extremist groups operating in the country. As a result, the government failed to respond early enough and this led to massive loss of properties and lives. Nevertheless, the international community responded with massive aid in terms of food and shelter (Damon, 2011, 72).

Wok cited

John, L. & Petaluma, C., (1982), Flood mitigation. Petaluma: City of Petaluma, 110-178.

Damon, P., (2011), Introduction to International Disaster Management .NY: Elsevier, 46-89,Disaster Assistance Project, (1970) Flood mitigation: meeting for the flood experts held under the aegis of the Committee of the Challenges of Modern Society of the NATO Venice. CCMS, 134-158.

Harsh, K., (2003), Disaster management. Boston: Universities Press, 189-267.

Shailendra, K., (1998), Disaster management. Bombay: Mittal Publications, 122-179.

Sundar, I., (2007), Disaster Management. Chicago: Sarup & Sons, 34-124.

Timothy, A., et al (2001), Community Flood Mitigation Planning Guidebook. Sydney: DIANE Publishing, 245-267

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