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EM-DAT Forget To Count Vietnam’s Red River Flood

February 13, 2019

By Paul Homewood

In August 1971, one of the world’s worst weather disasters of the 20thC hit North Vietnam, the Red River Flood:


A severe flood of the Red River in North Vietnam kills an estimated 100,000 people on this day in 1971.

This remarkable flood was one of the century’s most serious weather events, but because the Vietnam War was going on at the time, relatively few details about the disaster are available.

What is known is that the Red River, which runs near the capital city of Hanoi, experienced a "250-year" flood. Torrential rains simply overwhelmed the dyke system around the heavily populated delta area, which is not far above sea level. As well as directly killing thousands of people, the flood also wiped out valuable crops, causing further hardship, especially as it occurred during wartime.

Though many more reservoirs have since been built in the Hanoi region, the area remains vulnerable to flooding.

Within a period of 45 years (1900-1945), there were 18 years in which dykes failed, or one dyke failure with crop losses every two to three years on average. In the 1945 flood, the dyke system failed in 79 places, flooding 11. Provinces over a cultivated area of 312,000 ha and affecting about 4 million people. The 1971 flood caused the dykes to fail in 3 large sections, inundating 250,000 ha and seriously affecting 2.7 million people.


It even made NOAA’s list of the 20th century’s top weather and climate events.

You would have thought then that it would have made EM-DAT’s database of disasters since 1900.

But you would be wrong.



Indeed there are no floods at all recorded in Vietnam prior to 1999, meaning that the big flood of 1945 is also not recorded by EM-DAT, nor all of the other ones mentioned prior to 1945.

It should come as little surprise then that, according to EM-DAT, the number of disasters has rocketed, as so many in the past have never made it onto the EM-DAT database, despite being well known about.

ScreenHunter_3707 Feb. 13 18.03


And if these big disasters have not been registered, what hope the thousands of minor ones that have occurred over the years.


Indeed, EM-DAT themselves accept that their data cannot be used for long term trends, and that their real objective is to to serve the purposes of humanitarian action now.

But that does not stop climate shysters from misusing the data for their own political purposes.


Meanwhile Harrabin’s article on the fake IPPR report which yesterday claimed:




has been amended to :




And, as if Harrabin was actively collaborating with IPPR, they too have changed the wording on their paper in exactly the same way.

Perhaps someone has been reading Notalot!!

Not that this change makes any difference, as the claim is still utterly fake, because we know that so many disasters were not recorded in those early days.

  1. tim leeney permalink
    February 13, 2019 7:07 pm

    I hope they are all reading Notalot.. Might get through to them in time. Are they all on your mailing list?

  2. February 13, 2019 7:29 pm

    “Is that true or did you hear it on the BBC?”, or as the BBC would put it “Why you can trust BBC News.”

  3. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 13, 2019 7:55 pm

    I guess it’s too much to expect that Harribin will give a h/t to PH.

  4. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 13, 2019 9:00 pm

    What this data set is doing “is really showing is the evolution of the registration of natural disaster events over time.

    In the same way “correlation is not causation”, . . .

    Registration is not a disaster of the existential kind.

  5. John Roberts permalink
    February 13, 2019 9:52 pm

    1971 was a hell of a year…
    From A Chronology of Notable Weather Events, Douglas V Hoyt
    India-Pakistan War begins.
    On January 4, a blizzard raged from KS to WI, claiming 27 lives in IA. Winds reached 50 MPH, and the storm produced up to 20 inches of snow.
    On January 7, the temperature at Hawley Lake, located southeast of McNary AZ, plunged to 40 degrees below zero to establish a state record.
    On January 23, the temperature at Prospect Creek AK plunged to 80 degrees below zero, the coldest reading of record for the United States.
    On January 31, the Zambezi, in Mozambique, flooded killing 1000.
    On February 21, an outbreak of tornadoes hit northeastern LA and northern and central MS. The tornadoes claimed 121 lives, including 110 in MS. Three tornadoes accounted for 118 of the deaths. There are 1600 persons injured, 900 homes were destroyed or badly damaged, and total damage was 19 million dollars. Also Elk City OK was buried under 36 inches of snow to establish a 24 hour snowfall record for the state.
    On February 27, heavy rains around Rio de Janeiro leave 130 dead.
    On March 4, it was Montreal’s snowstorm of the century. Montreal’s worst snowstorm killed 17 people and dumped 47 cm of snow on the city with winds of 110 km/h producing second-storey drifts. Winds snapped power poles and felled cables, cutting electricity for up to ten days in some areas. In total, the city hauled away 500000 truckloads of snow.
    On March 18, high winds accompanied a low pressure system from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes. Winds gusted to 100 MPH at Hastings Neb, and reached 115 MPH at Hays KS. High winds caused two million dollars damage in KS. Fire burned 50000 forest acres in eastern OK.
    On March 26, parts of northern and central GA experienced their worst snow and ice storm since 1935. 2 persons were killed when a tree landed on their car.
    On May 4, tragedy struck the village of St-Jean-Vianney, Quebec when heavy rains caused a sinkhole 600 m wide and 30 m deep to appear in a residential area. The crater/mudslide killed 31 people and swallowed up 35 homes, a bus and several cars.
    On May 12, dust storms suddenly reduced visibilities to near zero on Interstate Highway 10 near casa Grande AZ. Chain reaction accidents involving cars and trucks resulted, killing seven persons.
    On July 18, torrential rains in Seoul kill 70.
    On August 6, a typhoon hits Japan and South Korea killing 78.
    On August 15, Hurricane Beth soaks Nova Scotia. Hurricane Beth brought punishing winds and up to 300 mm of rain, causing considerable crop damage and swamping highways and bridges, temporarily isolating communities on the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia. More rain fell during Beth than during Hazel in 1954.
    On August 17, a 120 MPH typhoon hits Hong Kong killing 130.
    On August 28, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Doria caused devastating floods in central and northeast NJ resulting in 138 million dollars damage. In southeastern PA, high winds downed trees and power lines, and in NYC, heavy rains flooded streets and subways.

    On August 30, floods in North Vietnam kill hundreds of thousands.

    In August, there was record warmth in Death Valley CA.
    On September 6-11, Hurricane Edith hit Nicaragua and Aruba. [ NHC rank 239/259 with 30 dead]
    On September 7, Typhoon Virginia hit Japan killing 38.
    On September 9, Hurricane Ginger formed, and remained a hurricane until the 5th of October. The 27 day life span was the longest for any hurricane in the North Atlantic.

    On October 23, Typhoon Hester caused flooding in Vietnam, with 100000 killed; (or 89 according to Nash).

    On October 28, a severe early season blizzard raged across the Plateau Region and Rocky Mountain Region. Lander WY received 27 inches of snow, and the temperature at Big Piney WY plunged to 15 degrees below zero.
    On October 29, a cyclone in Orissa State India kills 10000 and leaves 100000 homeless.
    On October 30, a massive snowstorm in UT and WY left 3 ft. Drifts and killed 24.
    On November 25, a typhoon off Java killed 90 fisherman.
    For 1971-72, coldest winter in 200+ years in Russia and Turkey.

  6. February 13, 2019 10:26 pm

    Climate alarmists themselves are the big disaster here.

  7. February 13, 2019 10:55 pm

    Note Harra did the normal stealth-edit
    Materially changing the news record, and not putting an edit note.
    But who would expect anything better from the dishonourable BBC news department ?
    They give the air of thinking they above the normal rules.

  8. February 13, 2019 11:03 pm

    10:06pm Radio4 once again tweeted the news story based on the IPPR propaganda report.

    They were doing this as a warm up for an item in The World Tonight news prog “solar power is the energy of the future” which then aired at 22:34pm
    @Ritula gave us total PR. Starting by referencing the IPPR report
    …. then blah , blah, “many gas powered power stations are reaching the end of their natural life”
    (… We are still building brand new ones … you ****)
    I couldn’t bear to listen further
    but Twitter says she had some Chichester Council woman on about their dream solar project.
    prog link :

    • HotScot permalink
      February 14, 2019 12:00 am

      One can’t help but wonder if the avalanche of news reports of global disaster caused by climate change is a light bulb moment; it burns most brightly before extinguishing itself forever.

    • February 14, 2019 12:02 am

      Ritula replied to me
      \\ If you listened to Dieter Helm afterwards he pointed out that we will be dependent on gas for some time to come.//
      As I already said I’d switched off as soon as the nonsense had become unbearable.

  9. February 14, 2019 3:59 am

    Incidentally, the Bhola Cyclone of 1970 in Bangladesh, the most destructive of them all, also occurred in 1970, during the 40s to ’70s cooling period and before the warming fear began in 1980 when the cooling trend had turned into warming. These kinds of data are not considered in “climate impacts” research possibly because they might corrupt what it is they wish to believe about the need to tackle climate as a way of avoiding extreme weather.

  10. dennisambler permalink
    February 14, 2019 9:52 am

    Judith Curry has a very good comment on her site:

    “Thinking that catastrophes like major hurricane landfalls, massive forest fires etc. will be ‘cured’ by eliminating fossil fuel emissions is laughable. Well its not really funny. Thinking that eliminating fossil fuel emissions will ‘solve’ the problem of extreme weather events is very sad, sort of on the level of doing rain dances. Every thing that goes wrong, they blame on fossil fuel driven climate change.

    Imagine how surprised they would be if we were ever to be successful at eliminating fossil fuel emissions, and then we still had bad weather!”

  11. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 14, 2019 9:59 am

    Why is the Beeb trying to frighten us? Is it altruism? Some sort of self-interest? I’m too old to have a TV licence so can’t cancel it

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    February 14, 2019 10:44 am

    Catastrophic climate events can and do often lead to human tragedy, yet the real tragedy of today’s post modernist ‘thinkers’ and the beeb is that we can prevent them by somehow and eliminating fossil fuel use and consumption – which is totally bonkers and not even ‘causation’.
    Mankind has all sorts of tricks up his sleeve though, hydro schemed engineering its prevention and care to building securely, as best as we are able to attempt to contain nature but even then, mother nature is a terrible mistress but it ain’t personal it’s just her nature.

    And from small but terrible scale disasters Lynmouth and Boscastle to catastrophe in Vietnam, let’s face it – s%*7 happens and we need to know our place but also that we survive and perpetuate through ingenuity, innovation, perserverance and by the skin of our teeth read a bit of Geology and learn about what could happen………. and did happen. We are, have been so very lucky if Lombok, Tambora and Katla are the worst in recent history, there’s plenty more to come.

  13. manicbeancounter permalink
    February 14, 2019 10:48 am

    They also forgot to include the 1931 China floods with 1-4 million deaths.
    Wikipedia’s “Ten deadliest natural disasters since 1900” lists this at No.1

    • quaesoveritas permalink
      February 14, 2019 11:58 am

      From the EM-DAT site:
      “The database is compiled from various sources, including UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies, research institutes and press agencies”
      The UN was not set up until 1945.
      Presumably many of the other “non-governmental organisations, research institutes and press agencies” did not exist either.
      I don’t suppose those suffering from the China floods took out insurance!

  14. jack broughton permalink
    February 14, 2019 11:09 am

    The fanatics who are controlling the press and media coverage of climate change are not concerned about truth, just issue an invisible apology when caught out. This is Goebbels-type propaganda pure and simple. Otherwise, the press would give reasonable coverage to the alternative view rather than refuse any debate.

    However, while being confounded by doomsday forecasts, I believe that the “man on the Clapham bus”, fortunately, does not take the junk-news at face value (Climate change or Brexit)

    • Athelstan. permalink
      February 14, 2019 11:20 am

      I think that your conclusion and happily is quite correct.

  15. quaesoveritas permalink
    February 14, 2019 11:53 am

    I missed this article when it was originally posted.
    I have sent a message to EM-DAT as follows:

    “Your database shows very few “disasters” prior to 1940 and few up to 1977.
    There was apparently a sudden increase in the late 20th century and figures seem to have peaked around 2000, since when the figures have declined.
    I do not believe that this is a true representation of the actual situation regarding disasters.
    Do you think that the low figures prior to 1977 are genuine or merely due to lack of data?
    Do you consider that the relative decline since the year 2000 is a sign that “climate change” is in decline?
    If you think that their is a lack of data prior to 1977, should you not put a warning to that effect on your site?”

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