Mitigation Methods For Preparing Countries With Flood Hazards
Mitigation methods preparing countries with flood hazards Floods are a common type of natural hazard that many countries experience all over the world. Mitigation is a process “to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters”. A mitigation plan is essential when it comes to all types of hazards because if a community is not prepared it can lead to immense consequences. Throughout this essay, I will be discussing the recent flood in Southern China and putting the mitigation process into perspective. For this particular natural hazard, both structural and non-structural mitigation would be essential to prevent extensive consequences from occurring. This essay will discuss how strong building codes and educational programs are structural and non-structural mitigation options that should be used when dealing with a flood. These processes would be able to prevent the destruction of buildings and reduce the amounts of fatalities by creating awareness to the public. Lastly, leading to how both processes would be seen as an essential plan for risk reduction.
On the week of June 10, 2019, Southern China faced a powerful flood causing 350,000 people to evacuate and a death toll that reached 61 fatalities. This flood caused a lot of economic losses as well as the destruction of 9,300 homes. During the summer months, Southern China tends to have frequent flooding and the North of China suffers from droughts. Due to the frequencies of these hazards occurring in China, there are structural and non-structural mitigation processes that China along with many countries that experience floods can establish. Structural mitigation is measures “that involve or dictate the necessity for some form of construction, engineering, or other mechanical changes or improvements aimed at reducing hazard risk likelihood or consequence”. In the context for floods, I believe that countries should implement strong building codes. Building codes are regulations that are set for design, construction and the maintenance of structures. By having this placed within structures it will reduce damages and create a better system. This is a useful mitigation strategy because when there is a new structure being built, it is important that they are engineered well so they do not collapse if a disaster were to occur. Especially when it comes to hazard-prone areas such as Southern China experiencing frequent flooding, it is important to make sure all their buildings and homes have effective building codes in order to reduce the risk of devastating consequences. This will not only help infrastructure but can save many lives of those people within them which will reduce the stress that individuals may have of losing their homes and daily lifestyle. Building codes can also make structures more resistant to specific types of hazards such as earthquakes, rainfalls, flooding, etc. The infrastructure that has strong building codes would ultimately not get affected by the flooding because of how well they are maintained and put together. The building would not permit the pressure of the flood to make it collapse. Therefore, this mitigation process will lead to less economic issues because buildings will less likely be completely destroyed.
Although this structural mitigation strategy can be very effective, some obstacles that can exist is that the existing infrastructure may not have building codes within them. This would result in these infrastructures easily getting destroyed once a disaster does occur such as how the 9,300 homes were destroyed in China. Depending on the year the structure was built, there have been a lot of changes in the type of construction practices and building codes that are being used now compared to back then. Which will ultimately cause discrepancies among the different structures and fluctuate which one may be more prone to consequences. Furthermore, another obstacle a specific country may face is if they do not have enough funding and money to implement these effective building codes. One solution to this obstacle would be asking for humanitarian help in order to raise money and implement better structures in specific areas that are more prone to frequent hazards. One of the main purposes of humanitarian aid provided by the UN is ‘to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian characters. The money that is given could be used to implement well-structured homes and buildings in areas such as homes in the coastal region due to natural hazards that are experienced in that area. With these programs and international aids available, it can be very useful for countries that are not economically stable. For example, in places like Haiti, poverty is a rising issue which makes it very difficult to implement building codes into their infrastructures. However, with the help of humanitarian aid, there would be some money provided to the area most prone to flooding to build those coded building infrastructures there. This will help alleviate the economic struggle for some countries and help them build resistant structures.
In contrast, non-structural mitigation “generally involves a reduction in the likelihood or consequence of risk through modifications in human behavior or natural processes, without requiring the use of engineered structures”. Since non-structural mitigation tends to be less costly and based more on trying to persuade and enlighten human thought, I believe that educational programs are an effective non-structural technique. This technique will inform citizens of the country on essential information on flood disaster management. The main reason why educating the public is important is because “education for disaster preparedness can provide life-saving and life-sustaining information and skills that protect in particular children and young people during and after emergencies”. Education can provide individuals with insight into what type of flooding may occur in their country such as flash floods, slow- onset, and storm surges and the areas where they frequently occur. With this information, families will be able to prepare themselves beforehand and make wise decisions on what areas they may want to avoid living in. For example, due to the flooding in Southern China, these educational programs will be able to inform the public about the frequent flooding and it will help them make an informed decision to avoid living in that specific area. Disasters are also traumatizing experiences for many and researchers have concluded that “children are the most vulnerable groups…. because of their physical breakability, need for emotional care, and dependency on others for decision-making”. The knowledge individuals will get from these programs will allow them to have a plan and a designated area on where to go and what to do if a flood occurred in their homes. This would allow children and other individuals to feel prepared and reduce the feeling of distress and not knowing what to do if they ever experienced a flood.
One obstacle that may arise when placing these programs in communities is whether or not people will come and participate in these programs. There may not be many people who are interested in joining the program to learn about disasters which can conflict with the main purpose of this mitigation process. Many individuals may not have time to come and participate and may not feel the need to educate themselves about floods due to personal preferences. However, I still believe that this mitigation process can work as there could also be online forums, books, and websites that people can possibly join at home and participate in at their own time. This will allow individuals to have available resources if they are not able to make it to the sessions that are held in facilities.
Consequently, by having mitigation strategies planned beforehand it will effectively help reduce the likelihood of the consequences that can occur from a flood. With the structural mitigation process, having strong building codes would successfully help society with less damage to buildings and homes. Building codes will help structures become resistant to hazards and will decrease stress and burden on the economy as well as families. Through the development of the educational program, which is the non-structural strategy, it will provide the public with information about the disasters their country faces along with where and how frequently they occur. This will allow individuals to make wise decisions on where to live and if they need to move, as well as come up with a plan in case they were to experience flooding. I believe that these two strategies work hand in hand because one covers the destruction of homes while the other educates the public and makes them more aware of hazards and a mitigation plan. Both of these strategies are important and effective mitigation tools because educating the public is just as important as implementing building codes. If building codes were not a possible mitigation technique for flooding and only educating the public was, then thousands of homes would be destroyed, and there would be an increase in consequences. This is why I believe that these two methods work together and would provide the best result for a mitigation tool. It will help the economy as well as the thousands of people who face these unfortunate events. Ultimately, a possible research area for the mitigation processes is trying to figure out new innovative methods that can protect older buildings from floods. This will help provide further successful mitigation methods and reduce the damages in all types of infrastructure.
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