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Minimizing Flood Fatalities in Canada Report

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Updated: Dec 13th, 2021

Abstract

The need to minimize the fatalities in a flood related disasters remain important in Canada today especially with the current changes in the global climate. To sufficiently minimize fatalities during floods, the disaster preparedness team must be well equipped with information related to past events and current trends in flooding. This paper studies the fatalities that result due to flooding in Canada. The paper provides statistics of past events and current trends in floods that necessitate further research. The results and recommendations of this paper will be invaluable source of data for strategic–level professionals.

Introduction

Floods are natural calamities that do not depend entirely on rainfall rates and amounts but also on topography of an area, soil and land use. Periods of floods are very detrimental to a community especially those that are located in pathways. Floods can be categorized into three: river floods, flash floods and coastal floods. Flash floods are those that rise and fall in a rapid way and are usually as a result of heavy rainfall in a small geographical area over a very short period of time usually less than six hours. River flooding refers to the rise in the elevation of a river to such extents that the river overflows the natural banks causing damage to property and life. Coastal floods usually result from storms where coastal water is driven onto the land. In Canada, the presence of ice is considered another source of floods which usually adds to river floods. When ice melts in big volumes, the water adds to the amount of water in rivers until at times the rivers bursts their banks to become floods (Lawford and Prowse 303).

Statement of the problem

The analysis of flood fatalities in a country is important since it is able to give different statistics about the effects of floods on life, property and vegetation. The analysis also provides invaluable information to strategic-level professionals who may use it in avoiding and preparing for floods. When undertaking a flood fatality analysis, it is important to ensure that all important details which may be vital for preparing and avoiding of flood related disasters are included.

Purpose of the study

The main goal of this study is to compile more details in regarding flood fatalities in Canada which may be useful in avoiding and preparing for flood related disasters.

Significance of the study

The results of this study will be useful to the strategic-level professionals responsible for forecasting, preparing and avoiding flood related disasters Canada. The results will provide more insight into factors and further details that may be considered while preparing for floods in the country.

Research question

The research question below will be used to guide the research:

  1. Is the data currently being collected on flood fatalities sufficient to aid in avoiding and preparing for flood related disasters?
  2. What factors hinder disaster preparedness teams from collecting sufficient information to be used in flood related disaster preparedness?

Literature Review

In Canada, a wide range of floods conditions are experienced with each condition having different effects on life, environment and property. Planning for floods is done at strategic levels where climate analysis is done at required and tactical levels especially when near–term forecast are required. The annual and decadal variances in flood conditions are wide with the causes of floods in Canada being very wide. This makes statistical flood analysis using the past events in Canada very difficult. It is not easy to characterize predictions based on past flood events in Canada due to the diverse and varying occurrences which result to floods over periods of time.

At national strategic levels, a lot of plans have been put in place to reduce the amount of damage that result every time a flood strikes. Canada experiences intermittent flooding conditions which thwart the efforts of the strategic teams and made it difficult to plan for flood related disasters. Peak flows which are as a result of the climate are well known in populated regions of Canada but are poorly known in the sparsely populated regions. The Canadian government has placed many approaches of forecasting floods in all parts of the country. Technological advancements have helped in ensuring flood related disaster preparedness. Different programs have also been put in place to deal with floods using both hydrological and numerical forecasting models. For instance, in Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment, scientists make use of both models to ensure optimum flood predictions in Canada (Lawford and Prowse 303).

Methodology

To effectively gather the information required to supplement the existing information, the research will use several data collection equipments. All the information collected will be compiled into a single database for the purpose of comparison and analysis. First, the research will use different observational techniques which will be aided by taking photographs in regions that have been affected by floods in the past. This will help in establishing the extents and any trends that may be observable (Ashley and Ashley 816). Questionnaires will also be administered to a sample population in areas affected by the floods in the past. Interviews will also be conducted with some members of disaster preparedness team to get an insight about the information that the team has already gathered through their own research.

Results

Floods remain a natural disaster in Canada with the worst flood ever registered having occurred in 1997. Dubbed Saguenay floods, the 1997 disaster claimed ten lives, and the destruction was estimated at $800 million. During the flood, about 1,718 houses were washed away. These resulted in evacuation of about 16,000 people. Among the natural disasters which have caused the highest number of fatalities in Canada, floods are ranked second after drought. The 1984 drought affected about 30,000 people (Lawford and Prowse 303).

With the recent changes in global climate, floods may soon lead in the table in terms of the number of fatalities involved. Preparedness requires that information on drainage, new models for hydraulic conditions that control break-out and free-up floods are sought regularly. There is a need to convey information on peak floods gathered from gauged basins to the other un-gauged basins which have a different topography and vegetation cover. Additionally, broad analysis of flood fatalities and statistics based on on-site and hydrometric stations needs to be undertaken (Ashley and Ashley 816).

Conclusions and Recommendations

From the information gathered, it is evident that there is still a need for Canada to be more prepared for floods than it is today. With the changes in global climate, more fatalities related to floods may be evidenced if the efforts aimed at avoiding and preparing for flood related disasters are not strengthened. One way of strengthening the efforts is ensuring that the strategic-level team is well equipped with data regarding floods in the country. One such effort is by conducting a research aimed at analyzing flood fatalities in the country. such a research should be aimed at enhancing the capacity to prepare for floods by providing information such as type of floods, age and gender of victims, topographical conditions of the areas affected by floods and any climatic trends that may trigger flood related disasters.

Works cited

Ashley, Sharon, and Walker Ashley. “Flood Fatalities in the United States.” Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 47.1 (2008): 805-818.

Lawford, Reagan, and Titus, Prowse. “Hydrometeorological Aspects of Flood Hazards in Canada.” Atmospheric-Ocean 33.2 (2005): 303-320.

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