China's 1998 Summer Flood Disaster on the Tangtze

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Jethro LeRoy Gibbs
Ms. Shepherd
Honors English 10
24 March 2013
Mighty Hell from the Yangtze

China’s 1998 summer floods killed thousands of people, affected billions of people across the globe, left millions homeless, destroyed or damaged millions of homes, affected millions acres of land, and killed billions of dollars in their economic status. One unfortunate factor that played a huge role in the strengthening of the summer floods that China faced and suffered was human neglect (“Bad Planning”). However, one of the many significant factors that are highly crucial in flood control is the world’s largest power station (“Three Gorges”) also known as the Three Gorges Dam. Without the Three Gorges Dam capability of controlling the river floods, each summer poses a great threat to those who dwell near the Yangtze and its tributaries. But despite the complications concerning with the yearly river floods, the Yangtze played a significant role in establishing many trade routes for many centuries (Wakeman 492). However, since the early dawn of civilization, the Yangtze River proved to contain some of the deadly summer floods that China will ever experience. The Yangtze is naturally located in the Eastern Lowlands, which also contains most of China’s best farmland. In 1998, a collection of floods of the Yangtze River caused by deforestation, overpopulation, location, and failure to learn past mistakes all resulted in a high number of deaths, millions of homeless people, life-threatening water borne diseases, and the suffrage in the industrial and agricultural status; however, the aid and support of China’s government, the United Nations, China’s army and military, and the unification within the people of China eventually brought a better realization on how the repetition of its summer floods could have been avoided in the first place. In other words, the chaos and suffrage that was endured by the many that were affected by China’s repetition of its collection of summer floods made the government, United Nations and supporting countries, army and the military, and the people much stronger than before, helping China to correct its past mistakes in order to prevent further trouble socially and economically. One crucial fact that one must observed was that the numerous human errors that occurred before the year 1998 and the failure to correct them took part in the summer flood disaster. Deforestation was the first recognizable human error, especially and specifically in the Eastern Lowlands where the valley of the Yangtze River was geologically located (Wakeman 492). Deforestation brought many environmental problems which aided the summer floods of the Yangtze to increase its size and the risk of damage (Lang). This happened due to soil erosion (Lang) and the removal of top soil (Gittings) which resulted from the lack of trees (Lang). Another environmental problem was the lack of firm top soil due to the lack of trees which can create water run-off, especially near a river (Gittings). The bottom line was that deforestation caused the rich top soil to disappear or disperse creating water run-off which in return encouraged floods to increase its damage capabilities (Lang). The growing population of China also contributes to the deforestation of China because people needed land to live on. The second major human error was overpopulation. Overpopulation in cities or areas prone to deadly natural disasters is more likely to result in higher number of deaths and causalities (Gittings). More people mean a higher demand in food, land, and crops (Gittings) which helped caused deforestation in many areas along the Yangtze. The third major human error was the location in which they built their vast cities and homes. Where there is a river, there is the potential risk or threat of a river flood. Throughout the summer flood disaster, tens of thousands of people were force to either flee or evacuate their homes as entire villages were wiped...
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