Comparing the effects of flooding in MEDCs and LEDCs
Having studied two flood case studies in countries with contrasting levels of economic development you will have seen that MEDCs usually have much better flood protection than LEDCs and subsequently the effects of flooding are often not as severe in terms of loss of life. However flooding still occurs in MEDCs and as well as some loss of life, the level of economic disruption can still be significant. You need to be aware of the main reasons for the differences in the level of disruption caused by flooding in LEDCs and MEDCs.
Problems faced in LEDCs which make the effects of flooding worse and flood management difficult:
– poor quality housing can’t withstand flood waters
– poor infrastructure is easily damaged with roads, bridges and communications destroyed by flooding
– lack of sanitation and clean water supplies resulting in further loss of life during floods through the
spread of diseases such as cholera, dysentery etc.
– difficult to mobilise rescue teams – lack of funding for training but made more difficult by many areas being isolated during flooding due to damage to infrastucture and inundated by flood waters;
– little political co-operation between Bangladesh and its neighbouring countries – makes it difficult to reduce flood risks by tackling issues in the headwaters of the major rivers which are located in India and Nepal;
– the country relies on government aid and aid from other countries – with a lack of money many necessary flood defences can not be constructed
– in order to tackle poverty the government have focused much of their funds on improving exports – again reducing the money available for flood protection.
Reasons why the effects of flooding usually less severe in MEDCs and flood protection is better:
– homes and possessions are able to be insured against flood damage
– good water and sewage systems are in place providing back up supplies of clean water when local supplies become contaminated – means that disease is not the problem it is during flooding in LEDCs;
– good infrastructure and communication networks means it is easier to get aid and helpworkers to affected areas increasing survival through rescues and evacuation;
– planning restrictions are usually in place to discourage new building of houses on floodplain areas or areas prone to flooding;
– governments in MEDCs are able to invest more heavily in flood defence systems – including channelisation projects; the construction of artifical levees and the development of prediction and warning systems.