Timeline of Major Floods in World History

from Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia

Significant Floods since Krakatoa
Year Location and Cause
1883 Java and Sumatra. Tsunami, following the explosion of Krakatoa. Some 36,000 lives lost.
1887 Henan, China. Huang He, swollen by rains, overflows levees, floods 130,000 km2 (50,000 mi2). 900,000 lives lost.
1889 Johnstown, Pa. Dam failure. 2,200 lives lost.
1900 Galveston, Tex. Hurricane flooding. 6,000 lives lost.
1916 The Netherlands. North Sea storms flood lowlands. 10,000 lives lost.
1928 Florida. Hurricane causes Lake Okeechobee to flood. 2,400 lives lost.
1938 North China. Chinese forces blow up dikes on the Huang He to impede Japanese advance. Estimated 1 million lives lost.
1960 Chile, Hawaii, Japan. Giant tsunami following a major Chilean earthquake inundates coastal areas in all three places.
1963 North Italy. Landslide into the reservoir of the Vaiont Dam sends a huge wave into valley below. 2,000 lives lost.
1970 E. Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Cyclone-generated floods inundate coastal regions. 300,000–500,000 lives lost.
1971 Orissa State, India. Cyclone and sea surge hit the coast. 10,000 lives lost.
1979 Morvi, India. Heavy monsoon rains cause collapse of river dam. 7,000–10,000 lives lost.
1982 Peru. Torrential rains cause lake to overflow into Chantayacu River valley. 2,500 lives lost.
1985 Northeastern Brazil. Rain-caused floods; 1 million homeless.
1988 Bangladesh. Monsoon flooding inundates 3/4 of country; 2,500 dead, 28 million homeless.
1988 Sudan. Torrential rains flood the Nile. 1.5 million homeless in Khartoum area; numbers of dead unknown.
1991 Bangladesh. Cyclone hits delta region with 233-km/h (145-mph) winds, floods, 5–6-m (16–20-ft) water surges. 125,000 believed lost.
1993 U.S. Midwest. Record spring and summer rains cause prolonged flooding along the Mississippi and its tributaries, leaving 50 dead, 70,000 homeless.
1995–97 North central United States and central and northern Europe. Heavy rains swell rivers, causing huge property damage and some loss of life on both continents.
1998 Central and northeastern China. Disastrous river flooding leaves more than 3,000 dead, 5 million homes destroyed, and tens of millions of farmland hectares submerged; 14 million people are evacuated.
2002 Heavy summer rains in north central Europe bring on disastrous August flooding, with some 250,000 people directly affected and about $20 billion in damages.
2005 U.S. Gulf Coast. Hurricane Katrina causes extensive flooding in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with a storm surge in excess of 6 m (20 ft). The levees around New Orleans, La., are breached, and the entire city is flooded; most of the city's population was evacuated. In the region there were 1,193 people killed, with estimated damages of $60 billion.
2006 Europe. Rivers breach levees and dikes on the Danube and Elbe rivers following heavy rain and significant snowmelt from an unusually hard winter. Flooding spreads across Europe between February and April, killing 12 people, displacing almost 50,000, and causing more than $300 million in damages.
2007 England. Several days of torrential rain following the wettest summer since 1766 causes the worst flooding in 60 years. More than 130,000 homes and businesses are swamped, and 340,000 people are either evacuated or trapped in their homes. The Royal Air Force (RAF) carries out its biggest peacetime rescue operation, airlifting people from flood-hit areas.
2007 South Asia. Heavy rains, flash floods, and landslides during the monsoon season displace approximately 16 million people in South Asia: 11 million in India, 4.5 million in Bangladesh, and about 250,000 in Nepal. In some places the water level reaches as high as 3.7 m (12 ft).
2008 Myanmar. The Irrawaddy delta area is pounded by Cyclone Nargis, the largest cyclone ever in the Bay of Bengal. The United Nations estimates that the storm severely affected 2.4 million people; about 146,000 people either die or are reported missing.
2008 China. Consecutive days of relentless torrential rain causes flooding that kills 55 people and forces more than a million to flee their homes across southwestern China, including earthquake-ravaged Sichuan province.
2008 India. In the worst monsoon flooding in India in 80 years, the Kosi River breaches its banks along the border with Nepal and forms a new path through Bihar, India; more than 2 million are affected and 225,000 homes are destroyed.
2008 Haiti. Four tropical systems (Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike) strike Haiti within a month, triggering flooding that kills at least 425 people and wipes out the island nation's crops; throughout the country up to 600,000 people require international assistance.
2008 Venice, Italy. High tidal waters, pushed into the city by strong winds, crest at 155 cm (61 in), well above the 102-cm (40-in) flood stage. It is the fourth-highest flood level since the city started keeping records in 1872.
2009 Northwest Queensland, Australia. Cyclones Domini and Ellie saturate the area with 356 mm (14 in) of rain, causing the worst floods on record. Rivers overflow their banks and submerge more than 1,000,000 km2 (386,100 mi2), innundating thousands of homes and devastating the sugarcane and cattle industries. Damages are estimated at more than $210 million.
2009 Turkey. The worst flooding in 80 years occurs after two days of intense rainfall, described as a "500-year" rainfall by the country's minister of the environment. Waters rise up to 1.8 m (6 ft) high in Istanbul and the Marmara region. The floods take the lives of at least 37 people and cause damage in excess of $170 million.
2009 Philippines. Mudslides and the worst flooding in over 60 years occur after two tropical systems strike the island within a week. Tropical storm Ketsana dropped 42.4 cm (16.7 in), of rain in just 12 hours. Days later, slow-moving Typhoon Parma added another astounding 120.4 cm (47.4 in) of rain. President Gloria Arroyo declares a nationwide state of calamity. At least 3 million people are affected, and more than 540 die; damage exceeds $250 million.
2009 Samoan Islands. An offshore earthquake, magnitude 8.0, triggers tsunami waves of up to 6 m (20 ft) high that flatten villages for up to 1 km (0.6 mi) inland on the shores of Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga in the Pacific Ocean; more than 189 lives are lost.

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