While several Australian states are now suffering from too much water the second year in a row, with just four deaths so far, the inundations are still mild compared to flooding that hit other nations the past few decades or centuries.
REUTERS A paramilitary policeman paddles a rescue boat carrying residents to a safer area in the flood-hit Xianning county, Hubei province June 10, 2011. Torrential rain in two drought-stricken central China provinces triggered landslides and brought down houses, killing at least 44 people and leaving 33 missing, state media said on Friday. Picture taken June 10, 2011.
Except for the biblical days of Noah's Ark when rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights, records show that the most devastated country in terms of lives lost due to excessive floodwater is China.
A listing by Web site www.epicdisasters.com showed that of the top 10 incidents on the list, the first 7 happened in China between 1642 and 1975. The next three ones happened in The Netherlands, England and Russia.
Like in Australia, most of the deaths that happened occurred in places near rivers which swell when rains continue to pour down and cause massive destruction to homes, properties and the environment as well as take lives.
1. Huang He (Yellow) Rive, China - 1931. The death toll was estimated between 1 million to 3.7 million. The reasons behind the area being prone to flooding is because of the broad expanse of plain that lies around it due to the high silt content which gave the river its yellow tint as well as its name. The silt makes up to 60 per cent of the river's volume. What worsen the situation are the ice dams that block the river in Mongolia which releases deadly bursts of water when it breaks.
Because of the periodical flooding in China, the national government launched a programme to build dams to control the flood, but the measures were not very effective and were criticised by environmentalists.
2. Yellow River, 1887 - Death toll: 900,000 to 2 million
3. Yellow River, 1938 - Death toll: 500,000 to 900,000. This flooding was caused by Nationalist Chinese troops under Chang Kai Shek when they destroyed the levees to force advancing Japanese troops to retreat.
4. Yellow River, 1642 - Death toll: 300,000. This time the inundation was the handiwork of Chinese rebels who destroyed the dikes along Kaifeng City, resulting in the flooding of surrounding countryside.
5. Ru River, Banqiao Dam, China, 1975 - Death toll: 230,000. Caused by the collapse of the Banquia Dam brought by heavy rain caused by a typhoon.
6. Yangtze River, China, 1931 - Death toll: 145,000. This river has a record of more than 1,000 floods.
7. The Netherlands and England, 1099 - Death toll: 100,000. This disaster was the combined result of high tides and storms that inundated River Thames.
8. The Netherlands, 1287 - Death Toll: 50,000. The failure of the Zuider Zee seawall caused this flood.
9. The Neva River, Russia, 1824 - Death toll: 10,000. It was caused by the ice dam clogging the Neva, resulting in flooding of nearby cities.
10. The Netherlands, 1421 - Death toll: 10,000. It was also caused by the failure of a seawall on the Zuider Zee which inundated the Dutch lowlands.
Latest report said that the number of lives lost in Australia due to the devastation caused by ex-cyclone Oswald in Queensland is four people. The latest victim is a nine-year-old boy hit by a falling gum tree while watching the raging waters in Brisbane. His pregnant mother, 34, was also hit by the felled tree but remains in critical condition in a hospital.
The Burnett River reached a record 9.5 metres on Tuesday, higher than the 7.92 metres peak reached in December 2010 at Bundaberg and the 8.59 metres logged in 1942.
Several Australian states continued to evacuate residents of risky places. What is ironic about the situation of the water-logged areas such as Brisbane is that 250,000 residents are at the risk of having no water overnight due to the shutdown of the Mt Crosby Water treatment plant. To avert the impending crisis, the Brisbane City Council organised water stations to provide residents with bottled water as well as make available water trucks.
A paramilitary policeman paddles a rescue boat carrying residents to a safer area in the flood-hit Xianning county, Hubei province June 10, 2011. Torrential rain in two drought-stricken central China provinces triggered landslides and brought down houses, killing at least 44 people and leaving 33 missing, state media said on Friday. Picture taken June 10, 2011.