Natural Phenomena: The roaring of floods
By Xing Fangyu

A video of a journalist reporting while neck-deep in water during extreme flooding in Pakistan has gone viral. His courage is admirable, but the risks are unpredictable. Floods can be extremely dangerous and calls into question how to deal with the natural disaster. 

What is a flood?

Floods happen from an overflow of water. Factors like heavy rains, sudden snowmelt or ruptured dams can cause flooding. 

The massive power of floods can cause direct harm to the region and destroy buildings, cut down power stations and trigger landslides. Every year, floods lead to property damage and personnel casualties globally.

Floods can cause damages to both humans and nature. /VCG Photo

Floods can cause damages to both humans and nature. /VCG Photo

How to minimize the damages?

There may not always be time to protect yourself, but there are a few tips for dealing with floods covering three phases: before, during and after a flood.

When choosing a place to live, try to avoid the floodplain-areas close to a water source, which can experience flooding during heavy rains. And prepare some first aid bags along with your important documents in waterproof bags. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the warning systems. On July 7, more than 30,000 people in Donglan County, China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, were safely transferred before flooding thanks to the warning system.

When a flood happens, do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Moving water contains great power that can knock you down and sweep your vehicle away. If you have to walk in water, make sure the water is not moving and you have things like a safety rope.

Don't return home until authorities confirm it is safe. And be aware of water hygiene and power lines when you use them. Sometimes animals like snakes could appear in your house, you should wear gloves for sanitation and safety.

Seasonal flood of the Yellow River. /VCG Photo

Seasonal flood of the Yellow River. /VCG Photo

The other side of floods

All floods begin with a hazard, but a hazard does not always lead to a disaster. With good preparation, damages can be limited, and floods can bring benefits.

Floods can recharge ground water and fertilize soil. Many ancient communities were created in areas like the Nile River, the Yellow River and Ganges River because periodic flooding has brought benefits to agriculture and societies. 

About Natural Phenomena 

Natural phenomena is a new series that takes you to an unknown world of nature phenomena. From natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to spectacles like aurora and mirage, let's dig into the secret of our planet. 

(Cover image via VCG)

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