"The monsoon rains bring a relief from the hear, but can cause massive
devastation." Shopkeeper, India, 1997
June in India, the monsoon comes, bringing rain for three months,
and sometimes it is torrential. The flooding can be terrifying.
Rivers burst their banks, power failures cause shops to close, and
streets are turned in to muddy waist-high rivers. Many people suffer
injuries from stepping on glass and other objects submerged in the
water and there is a high risk from water-borne disease. Yet, wherever
possible, life goes on: Indians have got used to the monsoons. They
build dams and huts with raised floors, and store food on high platforms.
The floods bring boatman, ready to carry people from door to door
for a fee. In some years these torrential rains turn into disaster.
In these cases, the army and relief organizations try desperately
to distribute food and medical supplies. But, such is the scale
of monsoon floods in India and Bangladesh, that often they struggle
to provide sufficient help and it can take weeks before the situation
is brought under control.
surging water annihilated everything in its path." Description of
Big Thompson flood, 1976
1976, an enormous storm dropped around 25 cm (10 in) of rain onto
the Big Thompson River in Colorado, United States, in as little
as four hours. The flood waters rushed down the river canyon, sweeping
away roads, cars, trees and even a power station. The torrent broke
up the road surface, sending huge chunks up into the air. It was
difficult for the emergency services to get close enough to help
people and at least one ambulance was knocked off the road by the
water. Helicopters were brought in to pick up the survivors. It
took months for the army to clear all the wreckage using large tractors.
floods are the most dangerous in canyons or down mountains. The
extra water hurtles along until it hits open land which is where
people often live.