Coastal Flooding Impact, and how to prevent it

Coastal flood is a common recurrence in many parts of the world. It has been seen that excess water ravages the adjoining land and the interior following cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, snow melts and dam bursting. People who have lived along the coastal areas are more at danger due to the high possibility of flooding. Needless to say coastal flooding can run amok lives and property in minutes. Weak sea coasts are not able to handle the rising sea water, which easily submerges the nearby areas.

Impact of coastal flooding:

Due to coastal floods, apart from loss of life and accidents; there can be the following effects:

1. Coastal erosion which can destroy the lands and its facilities
2. Chronic loss of land combined with annihilation of coastal sediments, which can inherently prevent floods
3. Nearby construction activity is affected due to coastal erosion.
4. Damage to adjoining property and flooding caused due to impact of storms that give rise to steep waves.
5. Scarcity of land created due to coastal erosion and flooding
6. Depletion of environmental resources like fertile land, oyster beds etc.

Over the last few years, we have seen that severe storms, hurricanes and tsunamis have given rise to coastal flooding that has inundated lands. These flood events can be short-term or long-term but in both cases, there can be considerable water damage, mold growth, destruction of property and loss of life. The deadliest incident of coastal flooding was in 1931 in China, where millions were killed. This happened when the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers was flood and spilled over to the land, killing four millions who died from drowning as well as from contamination, starvation and disease. Then, there is also an incident in Hallisands, in Devon, England of a hurricane that washed away the entire village in just 16 hours.

To prevent coastal flooding from gaining momentum and cause considerable damage, here are the few things that can be done.

1. Seawalls: Seawalls can provide short-term protection from erosion. Of course, the sand used to form them can eventually deteriorate and the authorities must be responsible enough to replace them. Their construction on a consistent basis can allow these buildings to continue without being affected.

2. Codes for buildings: Buildings and houses near the coast must be built with specific materials that can withstand coastal flooding. This means property owners have to consent to have their homes and offices built; adhering to these materials with features like slits and flood elevations.

3. Flood Insurance: Apart from the above two preventative steps, it is also important to have homes and offices near flood prone zones to have a flood insurance. The US government has a provision for this, especially for the homeowners in the coastal flood zones to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

4. Banning building homes near the coast: This can guarantee that there is no loss to life and property due to coastal floods, but such bans are not implemented usually because municipalities cannot enforce these bans at the cost of affecting personal property rights. In some cases, the proactive municipal corporations do go ahead and sweeten the ban by buying these areas and using it as parks and open spaces.

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