BBC – Five Disasters Waiting To Happen – Part 1

Melting glaciers, heat waves typhoons floods. Millions around the world already experiencing the ravages of extreme weather, Predictions are there are worse to come! Global disaster experts are now identified five major climate threats facing the world. Threats already taking a toll on some of the world’s great cities. Extreme weather will need extreme solutions. to avoid five disasters waiting to happen.

London is flooding, emergency teams are struggling to cope. Unfortunately this was only a training exercise. Soon it could be for real. London is already experiencing advanced threat from sea level rise. Up the position of these great cities is that there will be a dramatic change in there by build.

Like most great cities in the world, London is built by the water. For centuries the mightiest provided easy access to the sea, a gateway to the world’s richest and the most powerful empire. Today as sea levels rise, the river harbors the potential for the city’s destruction. London prides itself on being well defended with 195 miles a floodwall and 8 barriers holding back the tidal Thames. In 1982 the Queen opened what was the jewel in the flood defence crown. “It is a great tribute to the wisdom Parliament and successive governments that London has now been made free from the threat flooding” Queen Elizabeth said.

The barrier was an engineering marvel, the biggest in the world. When high tides threatened to drown the capital, tends to open the gates tools a five-story building cultural num. For over 20 years and is protected London, how much the city depends on it today is alarming.

Sarah Lavery (Environment Agency) said, “Just giving you an idea of the flood is still under in. If we didn’t have the Thames Barrier here, and we had a big floods to London, water levels would be at the top lamp posts through”. Sarah Lavery knows all about the flood threats in London. She works for the Environment Agency and runs a project called tens 2100, her job to come up with a long-term solution to the growing threat a flooding.

Flood defences are getting older, the Thames Barrier was only designed to last up to 2030. Originally, barrier closures were expected once every two to three years. Today it closes five or six times every year. With projected sea level rises, and sea surges, the statuscop is not an option. “If we do nothing, just deal with the infrastructure we’ve got at the moment, will be closing the Bay Area by about 2015 because in that area on almost every tide, and it would be overtopped on some tides. And the worst scenario would lead us to expect and it in addition flood level, three meters on top level problems today. would be excessive 1.2 million people left-wing with living and working on a flooded area, over 80 billion pounds worth of property, we can’t sit on the ground stations. The 400 schools, hospitals, power stations, airport it is something going to happen.” Sarah Lavery added.

With climate change rising sea levels will mean even higher tides coming up stream. But this is not the only flood threat to London. We can also expect heavy rains. “But also is transparency of problem in london, is it not and he suffers from tidal water’s coming up a little bit, but also fluvial flooding, flooding down the river from once again these torrential rainfalls. So we can get a double warning when we both hit us at once.” Sir David King (Govt. Chief Scientific Advisor) said.

At the giant sea surge to these flood threats and London could face real peril. “As sea levels arise, it’s a one in a 10-year event that causes the real problems, it’s the storm at sea that’s suddenly water up to much higher levels and creates the kind of flooding that really affects to the cities.” Sir David King added. Those giant sea surges have hit London in the pass. On the 31st of January 1953, a catastrophic storm headed down to North Sea and forced his way at the Thames Estuary. Flood defences were ripped apart, hundreds were killed, and tens of thousands had to be evacuated, property damage run into the millions. The Thames area was particularly badly hit. 58 people were drowned in Canvey Island, and in the village of the jaywick 37 died. Those who survived still have vivid memories that fateful winter’s night.

“In 1953, I was 19 and I never forget it because when it turned in, I was listening into River, river by pinky lee last little tune I never come into idea yeah I heard another noise above the wheel. Couldn’t really know what it was. So I look on the curtain and had a look and everywhere was like glass, it look magical.” Said Malcolm McGregor. The magic soon faded as young fisherman Malcolm McGregor realize his home was surrounded by rising water. He lived with his family near the villages of jaywick on the Thames Estuary and nearby sea wall had been breached and nest bungalow quickly began to fill with icy floodwaters. “My father and mother out, my brother get on as much warm clothing as he could. If I hadn’t been here, I’m sure my mother would have perished and my brother.” Malcolm McGregor added.

Malcolm and his family were fortunate as they had a small boats and were able to run to safety but others were not so lucky. His old friend Dick Harmon join the party with the grim task of searching for survivors. “This is where we came a day after the flood net was a gruesome job because every man and I’m we came across one terribly distorted, where they’ve been trying to climb up the wall paper all knowledge things like that people in single storey places. in stend the night trying to break through the sailing in the middle of the window falling.” Said Richard Harman.

Following in the 1953 disaster the government said about a massive program to build bigger and better flood defences, including the Thames Barrier. But with a lifetime spent as fishermen negotiating the estuary tides. Malcolm think these improvements may simply have added to the problem. They believe that in the event have another giant sea surge the new flood walls have created a funnel, which would dominate the rising flood up towards London.

When the surge comes up the North Sea with the Northwest League behind it, the expansion is limited now because the walls are all been hardened all the way through. So it gives lot more water in the neck at the Thames Estuary and the Fed doesn’t spread the lodging hide and I’m afraid the whole I do be over the Thames Barrier.” Richard Harman added.

This is not just an eccentric opinion, London was only saved in 1953 because many coastal Tide defense is did collapse. The risks up trying to contain the Thames behind concrete walls and barriers is now being recognized by flood defence experts. “In the past approaches with the reactive wait for flood need to be more height on the rules. But what we are trying to do now is to be proactive. We are moving away from ideology shipped structures, bigger holes, bigger areas for defense to fund its management.