Floods refer to an overflow of water from the mainland or an outflow of water into the land. They are too frequent and costly because they cause severe damages. For instance, floods have been reported to cause the destruction of property and loss of human life. The effects of floods can be categorized into primary, secondary or tertiary. The primary effects of floods are characterized with physical damages like the collapse of buildings, casualties in people, the death of livestock and bursting of sewage systems (Gharbi et al., 2016). Generally, primary floods are said to act through direct contact with water because the speed with which surface run offs move are the ones that cause damage. In other cases, the primary floods carry rocks and vehicles which in turn break the bridges and buildings. The secondary floods cause disruption to important services such as electricity connections. In other cases, they lead to contamination of drinking water, especially when sewage bursts (Liu et al., 2017). As a result, these disruptions cause danger to the health of the people. This causes diseases such as diarrhea which when not treated may cause death to the people. These floods are man-made disasters because sometimes, people destroy the soil cover such that heavy water cannot be contained (Guan et al. 2016). For instance, when vegetation is destroyed, the bare soil remains which becomes eroded when there is a high level of rainfall. In tertiary floods, permanent changes are caused, for instance, the course of a river might get changed. The old rivers dry up as new channels develop while crops in the farms are destroyed. This paper, therefore, addresses floods as a man-made disaster especially in the Dubai where numerous destructions were witnesses.
Floods as Man-Made Disaster
Although water is essential for life, the same water when in excess causes calamities. Under normal cases, no animal or plant can survive without water. During rainy seasons, the rivers break their banks as heavy water flows into sources. In the year 2016, huge floods were witnessed in Dubai where a lot of destruction was witnessed. Buildings, roads, and motor vehicles collapsed and were swept away respectively. Some of these disasters are caused by human activities (Taleb, 2014). There was disruption of transportation systems and many people missed going to work. Previously people slept in peace but when they woke up in the morning, they found their houses as well as commercial buildings surrounded by water. As some buildings were washed away by floods, several others collapsed a situation which clearly indicates the suffering that people went through. In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai included, the people have been practicing the clearing of trees and bushes as the town expand. Massive cutting down of trees for a long period of time without replanting leaves the soils bare and barren hence can propagate the erosion of soils by surface run off.
When rains come, water flows down at high speeds and goes straight into rivers causing floods. Bare soil due to clearing of vegetation clearing leaves the soil being too soft as a result of trees and their roots. High volumes of rainwater then percolate below the soil such that it is available to people through the subsoil. Therefore when there are no trees the water goes into the rivers, causing overflowing and hence floods (Husby et al., 2014). The water then becomes less available on the ground for future uses and hence the link between floods and man-made activities. Continued cutting down of trees as a result of urbanization and construction leaves bare soil which cannot hold and reduce the speed of surface running water during rains. Another cause of floods in Dubai is the man made an issue of global warming. As it is evident, Dubai is an industrialized city. This means there are a lot of human activities kike burning of fossil fuels which lead to the release of greenhouse gasses. The greenhouse gasses like methane and carbon dioxide are a product of combustion activities either in factories of during transportation. The accumulation of these gasses leads to global warming which is linked to the floods. Increased economic growth in Dubai linked to high population has been associated with the changes in land usage patterns.
Literature suggests that mortalities related to floods are different based on the region, the severity of the event and the economic development level of a place. For instance, most of the floods are common in Asian regions due to overpopulation, which means there are more human activities that prompt the increase in these disasters (Rankinen et al., 2015). Moreover, the floods in the Asian region are said to cause more deaths because they alter the sustainability of most people due to increased population.
Effects to the Environment
The damage which is caused by floods is high ranging from animals, people to property. The intensity of the floods also depends on the period taken for it to come to an end. There is increased the spread of diseases like malaria (due to stagnant water) and diarrhea (bursting of sewage). Increased surface runoff causes soil erosion and hence infertility and poor crop yields. Man-made facilities like buildings, roads, and bridges collapse while wildlife habitat is destroyed. The agricultural land, as well as crops in the fields, also gets swept away which in turn leads to the shortage of food and water for survival.
In order to prevent the adverse effects of floods, the government needs to make an analysis of the frequency of floods. Then canals can be dug so as to raise the ground of the river banks and other water bodies like streams. Moreover, many strong dams can be built across the rivers so as to avoid collapsing of dams during heavy rainfall. In this case, the government makes use of good engineering skills to put up preventive measures (Lowe et al., 2013). There needs to be the adoption of land use planning such that there is the demarcation of flood prone areas in Dubai. The people need to be discouraged from constructing and settling in flood plains. Afforestation should be carried out on the upper part of the rivers to reduce soil erosion. Physical barriers such as embankments should be constructed along the river banks while buildings need systems for harvesting water, especially in densely populated cities (Li & Zhang, 2015). The floodplain areas and catchment should be protected from encroachment by people. This protection controls human activities like deforestation which prevents the surface run offs. Technology should also be adopted so that there are proper machines that can make proper weather pattern predictions.
It is, therefore, evident that occurrence of some disasters like floods is purely man made. Therefore the people should adopt safer methods of agriculture and construction so as to avoid the negative effects associated with floods.
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