Man-Made or Natural Disaster?

By Jane Preyer and Tim Searchinger | The Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 1999 | Go to article overview

Man-Made or Natural Disaster?


Jane Preyer and Tim Searchinger, The Christian Science Monitor


The vivid scenes of flooded towns, farms, and factories in North Carolina, along with reports of record flood levels that closed down the eastern third of the state, may convey an impression that there is little people could have done to stave off the devastation caused by hurricane Floyd.

These scenes are a reminder of the 1993 flood disaster in the upper Midwest, and the satellite photograph that showed most of a five-state region had become like a great lake. Again, many held the view that no matter where people built, they could not have avoided the 1993 flood.

But in most floods, the overwhelming majority of damages occur in floodplains that are physically distinct and obvious lowland river valleys.

The truth is that the estimated $16 billion in damages in the 1993 Midwestern flood was mostly limited to structures directly within the floodplain. Structures built at least a few feet up the bluffs escaped damage.

Likewise, when the hurricane Floyd flood analysis is complete, it's likely that most of the flooded structures and farms also flooded repeatedly in smaller and more common floods. North Carolina is no stranger to serial storm events with potential to cause flooding in low-lying areas.

Three years ago, Hurricane Fran caused flooding in many of the same places affected by the flooding today.

This time, it was two hurricanes followed by a large rain system that dumped two feet of rain on parts of eastern North Carolina over a three-week period.

The issue isn't whether we're dealing with an unusual storm event, but what the risk is of flood damage from a series of storms that saturate soils and produce overland flows that damage crops, homes, industries, and waste-water treatment plants, and unleash pollutants.

In the case of the North Carolina floods, the old maxim holds true: Floods are natural events, but flood damages are human events.

We need to face the fact that when homes, farms, or businesses are built in floodplains or wetlands, these investments are at high risk of flood. When animal-factory farms or businesses with toxic chemicals locate in flood-prone areas, they pose a risk to the environment and the public health of communities downstream.

North Carolina now faces the very real problem of contaminated drinking water supplies and threats to valuable coastal ecosystems that support tourism and fisheries.

So how did the Midwest respond to the flood damages and what lessons can North Carolina learn from the Midwest floods? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Man-Made or Natural Disaster?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.