Sinking Feeling

on Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Malaysia started 2007 with a splash with what turned out for the southern part of Peninsula Malaysia to be the worst floods for a century. Not only were the flood waters extremely high (one village was swept away when waters rose 100 feet above normal) but in some areas it did not recede for almost a month. The financial costs to the Government alone for repairs was over RM1 billion or over USD 350 million. The reason for the floods was cited as extremely heavy rain and unusually high tides which caused the waters in the rivers to back up.

Now it seems that Malaysia will end the year with another set of record breaking floods. While it is too early to see if the damage caused or the duration of the floods are comparable to the January floods or even worse, the total area affected seem to be much bigger. Again extremely high sea levels and high tides are said to be the main contributing factors.

Flooding was an annual event with the onset of the Northeast Monsoon until the 1970's when the building of bunds, proper drainage and irrigation and other engineering efforts brought the flood waters under control. That is until now. After more than thirty years of controlled flooding due to these engineering measures, why are these record setting floods occurring now? Can all of you say, "Climate Change" and ........"rising sea levels"?

14 comments:

Dave said...

100 feet above normal?? Wow! I can't even imagine!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

That's shocking. I have noticed that in the last 20 or 30 years, all the systems seem to be breaking down. There are more extreme acts of nature than ever before, often occurring in new places, and they are far more powerful than they have ever been.

It sounds a lot like the End Days, or maybe the Indian prophesies in which Mother Earth has grown sick of our abuse and is shaking us off her body like fleas.

Hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, we are seeing all of them more frequently and the levels of destruction have reached unheard-of proportions.

The devastation you describe in Malaysia would be impossible to imagine if Hurricane Katrina had not destroyed New Orleans so thoroughly.

I hope there is some kind of system in place to help people there, but fear that it will be inadequate.

Marja said...

Wow That is horrible. We used to have a lot of floods in Holland when I lived there. We had to evacuate once as well. In Holland people can be financially helped a lot though. I hope there is some sort of help for the people as well. I will sent my blessings and prayers to them

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I hope you manage to stay safe and dry through the upcoming season, LGS! While no where near as devastating, the stormy weather in these parts has been growing worse and worse -- not just one year, but for successive years. I shudder to think how bad it could become, for all of us on this modest little planet.

On a happier note, I've tagged you. I hope you don't mind.

Claire said...

I think Venice, Italy and New Orleans, Louisiana will be under water soon.
Hope you can stay safe this winter.

Rachel said...

Greenland's ice sheet is melting at an ever-accelerating rate. Last years melt was significantly faster and more expansive than the year before that, which in turn, was greater than the year before that.

Everyone knows global warming is real and all this political wrangling of the "causes" is just mere hem-and-hawing. The US and China really need to sign the emmissions treaty (Kyoto and Bali) !!!

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh how very awful - 100 feet above normal is unbelievable. My heart goes out to the victims - I do hope you are in a permanent safe and sound area Lgs.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

dave,
The village is near a river and was built some 80 feet above normal water level which was believed to be more than the theoretical once in 100 year flood but it was swept away.

hearts,
There have been already about 20 deaths in the last week from the floods. We do have adequate flood relief centres etc but some of these people have been flooded out twice in a year. It is taking an economic and human toll.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

marja,
we do have adequate flood relief measures but compensation for losses are quite low and some of these people have lost everything. Others have been flooded twice in this year.

kimber,
Thanks for your well wishes. I live in an area that is not flood prone though we can get flash flooding sometimes. Thanks for the tag. Will try to do it in a few days time.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

claire,
Thanks. I am in an area that is not expected to be hit by this current set of floods.

rachel,
Thanks for visiting and leaving comments. I agree with your comments. It seems like our politicians are metaphorically "fiddling while Rome burns".

janice,
Thanks. I am relatively secure from these floods.

Tai said...

I can say both of those things, LOUD AND CLEAR!!

I just hope someone's listening.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

tai,
thanks. We just got to keep saying them.

squirrelmama said...

These are scary times, and there seems ample reason to worry about personal safety - not to mention the spread of disease in the aftermath of such a disaster.
There is a global conference going on now, I believe in Bali, on global warming and the environment - the question is, how long will it take before these findings are translated from reports into life-saving, planet-saving action?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

squirrelmama,
I am afraid that conferences like that in Bali merely shows how warped our minds and our motivation is. Instead of acting out of responsibility and the common good, we seemed committed to be motivated by short term financial gain and political expediency.

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