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Top Ten Deadliest Floods

December 20, 2012

By Paul Homewood


More from the Emergency Events Database, run by WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).


The top ten deadliest floods are shown below.




As we noted with the list of droughts, most events were in the first half of the 20thC.


One interesting omission, though, are the Red River floods that killed an estimated 100,000 in North Vietnam in 1971, and were described as “one of the century’s most serious weather events”. It was, of course, at the height of the Vietnam War, which may explain why so few details are available.

  1. John F. Hultquist permalink
    December 31, 2012 2:12 am

    While these events are interesting in themselves they are not telling as much about natural events as one might, at first, expect. This results because of the built in biases. First is the issue of population density and second is country context. For example, in central North America along the Canadian and US border the land is quite flat with disrupted drainage from the now-gone glaciers. Wide area flooding has happened but few people have died. Photos here:
    Context from above:

    Compare some of the photos from the first link to this Bangladesh one:

    In the lower delta area of the Mississippi there has been considerable effort made to manage the river and limit development on the flood plain (despite all one sees about Hurricane Katrina and the City of New Orleans). The following page has a link to the big 1927 flood, but also follow the link to the Morganza Spillway:

    Here is an image of the area without flood water. North is to the left.

    So, the final thought is that while North America can have some spectacular floods, they won’t make the “Disaster Database.”

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