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Introduction

A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land which is normally dry. Floods are caused when the water level in a creek, river, lake or the sea rises and covers land that is usually dry. While some floods occur without problem, others are devastating, causing large-scale destruction and significant loss of life. Flooding is experienced all over the world and in some countries such as Bangladesh, flooding occurs regularly. The rise in water level can be due to numerous causes, although the most common in India is heavy rainfall. Flooding that is sudden and unexpected is referred to as flash flooding. It is usually caused by slow-moving thunderstorms that deposit an extraordinary amount of water in a relatively short period of time.

Effects
Flooding can be very dangerous only 15cms of fast-flowing water are needed to knock you off your feet! Floodwater can seriously disrupt public and personal transport by cutting off roads and railway lines, as well as communication links when telephone lines are damaged. Floods disrupt normal drainage systems in cities, and sewage spills are common, which represents a serious health hazard, along with standing water and wet materials in the home. Bacteria, mold and viruses, cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after a flood. Floods can distribute large amounts of water and suspended sediment over vast areas, restocking valuable soil nutrients to agricultural lands. In contrast, soil can be eroded by large amounts of fast flowing water, ruining crops, destroying agricultural land / buildings and drowning farm animals. Severe floods not only ruin homes / businesses and destroy personal property, but the water left behind causes further damage to property and contents. The environment and wildlife is also at risk when damage when damage to businesses causes the accidental release of toxic materials like paints, pesticides, gasoline etc. Floodwater can severely disrupt public and personal transport by cutting off roads and railway lines, as well as communication links when telephone lines are damaged. Unfortunately, flooding not only disrupts many peoples lives each year, but it frequently creates personal tragedies when people are swept away and drowned.

Causes
Flooding occurs most commonly from heavy rainfall when natural watercourses do not have the capacity to convey excess water. However, floods are not always caused by heavy rainfall. They can result from other phenomenon, particularly in coastal areas where inundation can be caused by a storm surge associated with a tropical cyclone, a

tsunami or a high tide coinciding with higher than normal river levels. Dam failure, triggered for example by an earthquake, will result in flooding of the downstream area, even in dry weather conditions. A number of factors can contribute to that imbalance, including:

heavy, intense rainfall run-off from a deep snow cover over-saturated soil, when the ground can't hold any more water. frozen soil high river, stream or reservoir levels caused by unusually large amounts of rain urbanization

Types of Floods
Floods are categorized into natural and artificial floods in terms of their specific causes. Floods occur mostly due to natural phenomenon such as: an intense and prolonged rainfall spells; unusually high coastal and estuarine waters due to storm surges, coastal areas are particularly susceptible to flooding due to tsunamis (seismic sea waves), Sinking of land due to earthquakes reduces the elevation of land areas, high tides coinciding with the occurrence of heavy rainfall frequently cause flooding.

Occasionally, floods occur unnaturally:


Blasting - this causes landslides in the slopes of hills and mountains which may result in the unintentional damming of rivers and streams. Construction of temporary dams - this produces an restriction to the flow of a river or stream which then results in an overflow; Failure of hydraulic and other control structures - accidents like the breaking of a dam result in the entry of an enormous quantity of water in a protected area; and

Mismanagement of hydraulic structures - control structures like dams which are utilized for various purposes are usually operated according to what is known as an "operation rule" and mismanagement which results in the violation of the rule may necessitate an untimely and sudden release of large amounts of excess water.

Floods vary in degree of severity in terms of areas extent or magnitude and in depth. They are, thus, classified as minor or major flooding. In a minor flooding, floodwater is usually shallow and there may not be a perceptible flow. Floodwaters are usually confined to the flood plain of the river along the channel, on random low-lying areas and depressions in the terrain. During a major flood, flooding is relatively deep in most parts of the stricken areas. Floodwaters cover a wide contiguous area and spread rapidly to adjoining areas of relatively lower elevation.

While floods take some time, usually from 12 to 24 hours or even longer, to develop after the occurrence of intense rainfall, there is a particular type which develops after no more than six hours and, frequently, after an even less time. These are what are known as "flash floods". Flash floods develop in hilly and mountainous terrains where the slope of the river is rather steep.

Flood Situation in India


India, being a peninsular country and surrounded by the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, is quite prone to flood. As per the Geological Survey of India (GSI), the major flood prone areas of India cover almost 12.5% area of the country. Every year, flood, the most common disaster in India causes immense loss to the country's property and lives. The states falling within the periphery of "India Flood Prone Areas" are West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, Bihar, Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. The intense monsoon rains from southwest causes rivers like Brahmaputra, Ganga, Yamuna etc. to swell their banks, which in turn floods the adjacent areas. Over the past few decades, central India has become familiar with precipitation events like torrential rains and flash floods. The major flood prone areas in India are the river banks and deltas of Ravi, Yamuna-Sahibi, Gandak, Sutlej, Ganga, Ghaggar, Kosi, Teesta, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Mahananda, Damodar, Godavari, Mayurakshi, Sabarmati and their tributaries.

Flood Prone Areas in India

The "India flood prone areas" can be broadly categorized in three divisions: Ganga Basin: The Ganga Basin gets flooded mostly in the northern part by its northern tributaries. The badly affected states of the Ganga basin are West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Besides the Ganga, rivers like Sarada, Rapti, Gandak and Ghagra causes flood in eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. The Yamuna is famous for flooding Haryana and Delhi. Bihar experiences massive dangerous flood every year. River Burhi, Bagmati, Gandak, Kamla along with many small rivers contribute to that. In West Bengal, rivers like Mahananda, Bhagirathi, Damodar, Ajay etc. causes floods because of tidal effects and insufficient river channels.

Brahmaputra and Barak Basins: The river banks of Brahmaputra and Barak gets flooded due to the Surplus water found in the Brahmaputra basin and the Barak basin. These rivers along with their tributaries flood the northeastern states like West Bengal, Assam and Sikkim. Jaldakha, Teesta and Torsa in northern West Bengal and rivers in Manipur often overflow their banks. Central India and Deccan Rivers Basin : In Orissa, spilling over of river banks by Mahanadi, Baitarni and Brahmani causes havoc. The deltaic area formed by these three rivers is thickly populated. Even some small rivers of Kerala and mud stream from the nearby hills add on to the destruction. Southern and central India observes floods caused by Narmada, Godavari, Tapi, Krishna and Mahanadi due to heavy rainfall. Cyclonic storms in the deltaic regions of Godavari, Mahanadi and Krishna even floods the coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu occasionally.

http://www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/floodplaineducation/Flood%20Education %20Model/Flood.html http://www.watersafetykids.co.uk/pdfs/Flooding.pdf http://www.ga.gov.au/hazards/flood/flood-basics/causes.html