A case study in flood fatality : Beijing July 2012 flood

Du, Weiwei, FitzGerald, Gerard, Hou, Xiang-Yu, & Zhu, Wei (2013) A case study in flood fatality : Beijing July 2012 flood. In 9th Annual International Conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction, Risk-informed Disaster Management: Planning for Response, Recovery and Resilience, 8-10 July 2013, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study is to examine the flood fatality with a view to identifying risks which may inform public policy responses to future flood.

On July 21st, 2012, Beijing suffered the heaviest rain since 1963. The average rainfall was 215 mm over a 24 hour period in the central city (301mm in Fangshan District). The rain resulted in a flood that caused severe health, social and financial impact.

Results

This flood caused 79 deaths. Of the 71 deaths for which a specific cause could be identified, 5 were rescue team members, 42 were killed by drowning (11 in the car), and the others by electricity shock, fallen house, falling items and lightning. The total financial cost was estimated to be US$ 1.7 billion. The causations of the deaths inform the risks associated with the flood.

Discussion

This flood had a catastrophic impact on Beijing, mainly due to the intensity of the rain (the rain was the heaviest in the modern Beijing history; possibly due to global warming and urban heat island effect), the vulnerability of the infrastructure (poor standards of drainage, disorganized water management systems and decreased permeability of the earth as a result of the city’s rapid development), and the capacity of the response system (mainly dependent on the awareness of the citizens, warning systems and the capacity of the emergency rescue).

Implication

Many risk management measures have been implemented as a result of this flood, including water level warning marks, flood safety education and warnings sent to mobile phones, a project to move about 74,500 farmers away from the flood-prone areas within 5 years. However, further measures targeted at the fundamental issues identified by this analysis are necessary, especially those targeting at health issues. These may include better planning, improved drainage systems and ecological development to increase permeability etc..

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 76146
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: CEDM, flood, fatality, risk management, capacity, policy, health-oriented
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 14 Sep 2014 22:06
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 20:09

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