Flooding is an extended process.
A flood is more than an event. Like all hazards, flooding can be looked upon as a process extending from the planning and preparation accomplished when there is no known threat, to the special actions (like evacuation) taken when the hazard is imminent, through the flooding event itself, and finally, through all the action-steps of response and recovery. This week Tropical Cyclone Bopha, which was sometimes a Super Typhoon, gave some Pacific islands a close-up look at that entire process.
Let’s look at Bopha in Palau and the Philippines
The International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” activation for Bopha in Palau (#422, 3 Dec., managed by PDC) described an “Ocean Storm” with winds of up to 155 mph (250 km/h) to which local news reports added that there were gusts of over 190 mph (300 km/h). Despite significant precipitation, the President of Palau explained that the flooding there resulted when “seawater went inland in areas including Kayangel, Angaur and Babeldaob, where residents evacuated to higher ground.” Palau knew Bopha was coming, and evacuated at risk populations. Communications were disrupted. Damage was widespread, but no related deaths were reported in the 48 hours after the storm passed. One reason for this is that the track of Bopha veered slightly away from the islands as it approached Palau.
Typhoon Bopha, called Pablo in the Philippines, did not change course as it approached the country’s southern island of Mindanao. According to a 5 December report on ReliefWeb, 169,900 people were in 377 evacuation centers in Mindanao and Visayas, and the full impact of the storm in Palawan could not yet be estimated. A ReliefWeb preliminary report on Bopha/Pablo impact, says there were 274 confirmed deaths, hundreds missing, and describes the storm “blowing away thousands of homes with 210-kilometer (130-mile) per hour gusts before easing and heading towards the South China Sea.” A slightly later report from AlertNet, after Bopha had passed through Palawan, gave the death toll at 283 with 300 missing, and these numbers are certainly not final. Flash floods and landslides are indicated as the primary causes of fatalities.
Want to learn more about flooding in all seasons and other types of disasters? Then, be sure to check out PDC’s Natural Hazards page! Also don’t forget to download the free Disaster Alert mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. PDC’s Disaster Alert will help you stay aware of hazards happening in your neighborhood and around the world!
Recent Flooding Events
Some flooding events that occurred this week are:
- Niger River flooding
- Many homes innundated
- Yobe River flood abating (ReliefWeb)
- Western Australia
- Nullagine River flooding
- Many communities threatened (Australia Bureau of Meteorology)
PDC is currently monitoring flooding events in: England, the Philippines, Southern India, California, the Adriatic Coast, and the Azores.
Over the next week, PDC will continue to monitor areas of high precipitation and keep a close eye on flooding across the globe. Want to find the most up-to-date information on flooding and other hazards occurring in your neighborhood or around the world? Then be sure to download PDC’s free Disaster Alert mobile app available for your iOS or Android devices today! Also be sure to continue to monitor PDC on Twitter, Facebook, and by way of the Global Hazards Atlas.