Floods in famous cities

When in Paris I look for old postcards (Carte Postale) and could not resist this one. It depicts the Seine under water from the January 1910 flood. It just goes to show that Queensland should not be seen as the most risky place to live when it comes to floods. I recall people telling us that we should not buy an apartment along the Seine. Once I found these photos I understood. However we have stayed in one and whilst the views are some of the best, it pays to be cautious when buying.

Wikipedia report – In January 1910, Parisians were shocked to discover their river had overflowed its banks, flooding streets, apartment buildings and the metro system. Hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes and refugees gathered in makeshift shelters while the authorities moved on boats to rescue the trapped and distribute aid. The total damage wrought is thought to have amounted to some 1.5 billion dollars in modern terms.

The BBC’s Rory Mulholland in Paris reported on 25 January 2002 – The French capital faces a repeat of the great flood of 1910 that would leave hundreds of thousands without electricity and phones, bring economic life to a standstill, and cost billions of euros in damage. Environmental officials say there is a serious risk that the river Seine will burst its banks in Paris and surrounding areas this winter. Swathes of central Paris on both sides of the river could be submerged.The national parliament, the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, the national library, train stations and the finance ministry could all be flooded. Seventy percent of the underground transport system would be paralysed.

The rising level of the Seine in the capital has already triggered a first low-urgency alert this winter. What worries the authorities is not the level itself, but the fact that it was achieved with relatively little rain. The soil is so saturated that there is little prospect of it absorbing any excess water.

The Seine had another close encounter when in 28 December 2010 it rose to its highest level in four years, reaching 3.91 metres, just 40 centimetres short of the maximum level allowed for navigation. This is largely due to the exceptional amount of snow Paris had received since the end of November.

The residents of Venice have to put up with it every year. I took this photo in 2009 of a Palazzo entrance flooding and it was only September before the flooding period. If I were working in career guidance I would place every bright student into engineering, we need more forward thinkers in town and city planning. Nowhere is safe anymore, not a nice way to live your life is it.

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  1. #1 by mary D on February 26, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    Interesting and very topical blog!

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