Consequences and Responses of Floods in the L.E.D.W and the M.E.D.W

The consequences of floods are both physical and economical. The one that is the most covered by the press is physical because it has the most dramatic visual effect. Both M.E.D.C’s and L.E.D.C’s suffer from the same consequences of floods, but the difference is what they are able to do to prevent the disaster.

Physical consequences of floods include.

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* The destruction of infrastructure namely roads and rivers that become too full of debris, this also includes telephone lines. This is most important in L.E.D.C’s because they don’t have the money to get them repaired quickly, also L.E.D.C’s generally don’t have any other means of getting to stricken areas e.g. helicopters, so they have to be donated by other countries.

* Loss of life (including animals) and property, including farmland and houses. The loss of life can be divided into deaths from the primary and secondary effects of flooding. The primary deaths are directly inflicted by the flood and account for more of the deaths in L.E.D.C’s because M.E.D.C’s generally have a warning system in operation. Secondary fatalities e.g. diseases brought by things killed by the flood, is much greater in L.E.D.C’s because they don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it.

* With the extreme excess of water, drainage and sewage is overloaded and all refuse and sewage that should be carried away by the drains overflows with the flood. M.E.D.C’s generally have better drainage systems than L.E.D.C’s therefore they suffer less from this particular effect.

* The combination of corpses floating in the river, with refuse and sewage of people and animals allows disease to spread extremely quickly. The disease has less chance of becoming a major hazard in M.E.D.C’s because they have a better infrastructure than L.E.D.C’s therefore they can treat victims of the disease.

* The combination of destruction of farmland and the destruction of infrastructure means famine that may not be resolved for months in L.E.D.C’s, while in M.E.D.C’s supplies can be airdropped and people evacuated.

* Impacts on economy because of destruction of property, firstly economical loss then insured loss, M.E.D.C’s will suffer the most from economical loss because they have property of greater value per area than L.E.D.C’s, but M.E.D.C’s will be insured. L.E.D.C’s will have little to no insured loss and less economical loss because they can’t afford it in the first place.

Responses to floods differ from M.E.D.C to L.E.D.C. The responses to floods in an M.E.D.C could be.

* Dams and reservoirs contain a large percentage of river water to be used to keep ‘reserved’ water for when it is needed. The creation of dams and reservoirs means that a smaller volume of water will be in the river than if there wasn’t a dam/reservoir. An example of this in an M.E.D.C is the six dams on the Missouri river that create 105 reservoirs that apart from preventing flooding allow the generation of hydro-electric power.

* Afforestation delay run-off and reduce the amount of water reaching the river.

* Diversionary spillways, these are overflow channels which can take surplus water during times of flood. The Bonnet Clarr� Floodway begins 50km north of New Orleans. In times of flood it diverts excess water from the Mississippi along a 9km spillway, through 350 small bays (reservoirs) into Lake Pontchartrain, and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. This has greatly reduced the flood risk at New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

* Straightening and Shortening, this method was aimed at trying to get rid of flood water as quickly as possible. It is achieved by cutting through the narrow necks of several large meanders. Between 1934 and 1945 a 530km stretch of river was shortened by almost 300km.

* Strengthening levees, levees used to consist only of soil covered by bundles of willows and were vulnerable to erosion by the river. Now a specially designed barge backs away from the shore laying concrete mattresses, each mattress measuring 25m by 8m. The process is repeated until the bank is covered from the deepest point of the river to above the flood level.

* Early warning systems, monitoring stations provide early warning to any above average increase in water volume taking into account precipitation, melting snow etc. This will warn people of an eminent flood and instruct them how to avoid it so it will save lives.

The responses to floods in Bangladesh as an L.E.D.C.

* Shelters and warning systems, by building 5,000 flood shelters in the areas most at risk. These are cheap an easy to construct and would provide a place of safety for almost everyone. Improve the flood forecasting system using satellite and computer technology. Prepare flood disaster management plans which provide early warning and clear instructions to people.

* Dams, build dams to control river flow and hold back the monsoon rainwater in reservoirs. These would be concentrated in Bangladesh but the plan could be extended into India and Nepal.

* Flood control, divide the land into compartments and control water flow through a system of channels by sluice gates and water pumps. In the dry season water can be moved to areas requiring irrigation. Before monsoon water would be drained away to allow for the floodwater.

* Embankments complete and strengthen the embankments along all main river channels to a height of up to 7m. More than 7,000km of embankment is already in place but repairs, heightening and new building would cost. This scheme should prevent serious flooding from river overflow.

So both M.E.D.C’s and L.E.D.C’s have schemes implemented to prevent floods, the major difference is that M.E.D.C’s spend millions and get new technology and better construction materials which prove to be a better defence saving lives and property. L.E.D.C’s on the other hand must rely on local materials and less budget spent on them which means less reliable defence unfortunately. But with aid from M.E.D.C’s in times of crisis, L.E.D.C’s will be able to cope fairly well depending on how quickly the aid is sent.

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