Welcome back to Disaster Response’s blog! Today, we are switching gears from primarily talking about the practicalities associated with flood damage, water damage, and water damage restoration, to cover a bit of history. Water is something that we need to live. It can be deadly if we don’t have it. It can cause damages of catastrophic proportions, and can carry deadly pathogens. Throughout history, floods have demonstrated the power that large bodies of water have against human life and the structures that we build. Today on the blog we are going to be talking about some of the deadliest floods of all time.
Johnstown Flood – 1889
This flood truly showed the power of unharnessed water. After several days of torrential rain, the dam that held Lake Conemaugh in Pennsylvania, burst. Nearly 16 million tons of water was unleashed creating a 40 foot high, half-mile wide wall of water that surged with the force of the Mississippi River toward the nearly by town of Johnstown. After the water swept through town it was counted that over 2,000 people died that day, 1,600 buildings were destroyed, and those who survived were left with the plight of rebuilding their homes and the town.
Central China Flood – 1931
In one month, central China received as much rain as they would normally experience in a year-and-a-half’s time. Between the rain, heavy snowmelt, and cyclones, the Yangtze, Yellow, and Huai rivers were bursting. When the dikes finally gave way, the area that was flooded was bigger than England. Thousands died when the area flooded and more succumbed to the effects of pathogens, disease, and famine.
Though there was no way of recording the catastrophic proportions of this famous storm, art and descriptions from the time convey enough to stimulate the imagination. In January of 1362, Europe was nearly blown off the face of the earth with “…a strong gale [that] blew from the north so violently for a day and night that it flattened trees, mills, houses, and a great many church towers” according to one article. Nearly all dikes, dams, and other structures burst, coast lines were reshaped, and whole islands disappeared. It is estimated that up to 100,000 people were lost.
Indus River Valley – 1841
An earthquake is to blame for one of the deadliest recorded floods. Though it isn’t actually known how many people perished that day, whole villages were decimated along with a 500-man army according to one source and washed through several hundred miles around the Indus River. Before the flood, an earthquake occured and shook the area so hard that bedrock from a nearby mountain fell and dammed the river. After some time, and after it had created a 500 foot deep and miles long body of water, the dam broke, causing a wall of water 100 feet high and that moved at 540,00 cubic meters per second.
To learn more about some of the most deadly, awe-inspiring catastrophes of all time, stay tuned for upcoming blog posts. If you are in need of the expertise of a water damage restoration company in the Grand Rapids area, call Disaster Response!