Flooding Case Studies

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To what degree are human factors responsible for flooding?
Case Studies: * Mississippi 1993 (HIC - OECD) * Bangladesh 1998 (LIC)
There are various causes and consequences of flooding, from displacement to death. But flooding, which is defined as being ‘the overflowing of a body of water onto dry land’, is enhanced by human intervention. Apart from natural causes; rainfall. Humans, in development, conquest to disturb the environment. Human factors such as urbanisation, changing of river systems (e.g. the building of levees, channel straightening etc.) are all important in the causes and consequences of flooding. * Firstly, there is the issue of deforestation; the cutting down and removal of trees. Deforestation means that there is less vegetation for the interception of water, meaning that there is a larger amount of surface run-off, while deforestation also results in the loss of top-soil, and therefore the inability for new trees to grow. Since 1990, Bangladesh has lost a total of 2,600 hectares (ha) of forest cover per year, this equates to 0.17% of all forest cover in Bangladesh, meaning that by 1998, there would be an average loss of 20,800 ha of forest, this is contrasted in the US, where afforestation is taking place due to Flood Action Plans by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). * Secondly, urbanisation. 82% of the United States’ population lives in urban conditions, while the 1990 US census shows that in Mississippi State alone, there was 49% urbanisation. Let alone this and discounting the 31 states covered by the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB), the 12 states that the Mississippi river basin comprises of: Arkansas; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Louisiana; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Ohio; Tennessee and Wisconsin, have a combined average urbanisation of 60.8% with an annual increase of 1.2% (overall). Similar to…...

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