A Hazard is a naturally occurring event which has the potential to cause loss of life or property. Floods are an excellent example of a frequent hazards which occurs in the United Kingdom. Two of the best recorded floods in the West Country are those at Lynmouth in 1952 and Mendips in 1968.
The Lynmouth flood was funnelled down from the higher areas of Exmoor, where the bedrock is impermeable rock, through deep V-shaped valleys. Whereas the Mendips flood had been caused by a storm at the top of the hills, which had been absorbed at the time, but as it filtered down it reached impermeable rock and was forced to the surface at Mendips, causing a flood.
The flood at Lynmouth carried huge boulders and uprooted trees with it, and the artificial flood prevention structures concentrated the flow further, causing increased damage to the area. Bridges acted as barriers, collecting water and debris behind it, which eventually burst over the top in the form of a tidal wave.
The human toll of this flood was high, 34 people lost their lives, 90 houses were destroyed, 130 cars destroyed and 19 boats lost or destroyed. Many repairs to the town were required to prevent future flooding.
The Mendips flood resulted in less deaths than the Lynmouth flood, only 7 fatalities occurred, but the damaged area was much more wide spread.
As with the Lynmouth flood, artificial structures put in place to reduce flood damage made the matters worse. The flood surged through the area, leaving boulders, destroying cars and damaging many houses, 35 people needed to be re-housed and one farmer lost 40,000 chickens, 67 bridges were destroyed and Weston-Super-Mare was cut off by landslides.
Floods cause many impacts to humans lives, this can include damage to buildings, caused by both water invading the house and damaging property or by debris being thrown into buildings causing physical damage, fire hazards can be created after the flood water has gone down, caused by broken or leaking gas lines, or during the flood caused by flammable liquids being carried from upstream, or submerged electrical furnaces or appliances.
Many diseases are carried in the flood water, and when an area has been cut off for a long period of time can cause an epidemic. Although this many occurs in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDC’s) where aid takes more time to arrive and the domestic water system is primitive.
Many agricultural areas get damaged in floods, due to excess water and also mud flows, which drowns and then suffocates the crops. In LEDC’s this causes famine and lack of food problems, in MEDC’s (more economically developed countries) the problem is less severe, as food shortages is less of an issue, but it causes damage to the farmers livelihood and his economic stability.
In both MEDC’s and LEDC’s floods can causes infrastructual damage which could mean that the area becomes cut off from rescuers or aid agencies trying to help, this happened in Weston-Super-Mare.
In conclusion, floods have many impacts on human lives, these have been discovered from previous floods which have killed people and damaged much property. But these losses have lead to many new flood prevention ideas, including better evacuation plan, improved warning systems and more land-use zoning restrictions. Human activity is always effected drastically if there is a hazardous event in the area, there is preparation before the hazard, evacuation and protection during and cleaning up and helping after the event, eventually life returns to normal for the victims.