Flood is not a phenomenon

The water that bears the boat is the same that swallows it.

This is an ancient Chinese slang that describes both constructive and destructive sides of a power. Water was used as an example in this case. In real life, particularly nowadays, water plays a far more dramatically role throughout the planet.


Physically, it is generally agreed that sunlight, air and water are the majority elements for us to live and 70% of a human body is filled with water, the same proportion to earth. Geographically, rivers on continents breed agriculture, villages and civilian lives. Historically, most famous ancient cities  have river(s) crossed. In short, human beings cannot live without water.


A shortage of water endangers our food, sanitation and daily lives while overflowed water directly ruins our homes. Severe floods have been taken places more frequently than before these years:


Zhouqu, China (中國 舟曲), August, 2010
Pakistan (巴基斯坦), July, 2010
Central European (歐洲中部), June, 2010
Tennessee (美國田納西州), May 2010
Southeast US (美國東南部), September, 2009
Taiwan (台灣), August, 2009

Yearly floods @Wikipedia:
2005(2), 2006(9), 2007(15), 2008(16), 2009(17), 2010(27)

A railroad bridge damaged by Typhoon Morakot is seen in Taitung, eastern Taiwan August 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) (via The Big Picture)

As one of those who witnessed the flood caused by Typhoon Morakot, I was strongly shocked by the cruelty and heartlessness of water. Over 1,000mm of daily rainfall has brought sever cloudburst from mountain areas. Illegally felled trees were flushed into overflowed rivers alone with countless rocks and dirt, and it became unstoppable landslides which destroyed everything on the way.


I spent a week in the southeast disaster area helping clean up the mess. Scenes were seen and stories were told about how water became a killer from a saver. In addition, there were many obvious and unseen reasons cause by human which strengthen the damages of the flood. Most of them were pointed to over-development where forests and mountainside were removed to build houses or farmlands. Without lands which helps preserve and adjust water, heavy rain goes no where but those buildings and farmlands.


In another word, to some extent, urbanisation enhanced the destruction and/or weaken the protection against floods.In my opinion this is not inevitable if one thing is considered before the constructions: figure out ways for water to go. In my city, the Taipei city government were building dikes alongside rivers to prevent it from being overflowed. Back to four thousand years ago, Yu the Great,  the ancient Chinese emperor, contrarily dredged channels for water to flow into rivers and the ocean. On the other hand, the experts of converting ocean into lands -- the Dutches, are changing their land policies and building impressive "floating houses" to live with water.


Floods nowadays are just like sea level rise, both strongly affected by Global Warming and Extreme Weather. No matter it is caused by human activities or just natural phenomenon, the number of deaths it brings is still growing up. Trying to live peacefully with the nature and moderate the damages we produce against the earth is our responsibility for our children and the planet. Just like what I have concluded on the Blog Action Day 2009, the increasing floods cannot be regarded as simply a phenomenon, it is a serious task which need to be resolved.

水災如今與海平面上升一樣,都受全球暖化與氣候異變影響而加劇。不論這是由人類活動造成的,或者只是規律的自然現象,它所帶走的生命仍在不斷增加中。為了我們的子孫與這個星球,嘗試與自然和平共處,並穩定我們所製造出的破壞,是我們的責任。如同我在Blog Action Day 2009所做的結論一樣,越來越多的水災不能輕易地被視為一種現象,而是一個必需被解決的課題。

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.