Last Updated 12 Feb 2021

Flooding in South Africa

Category Flood, South Africa, Water
Words 1037 (4 pages)
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The aim of this assignment is to give background information about flooding in South Africa. These would be carried out through the means of research on journal entries, web research and different literatures. The nature of flooding, the main causes of flooding, the effect of development of flooding hazards and the effect of the economic status of people regarding flooding hazards will be taken into consideration. Definition of key terms Flooding An overflow of water onto normally dry land.

The inundation of a normally dry area caused by rising water in an existing waterway, such as a river, stream, or drainage ditch. Pounding of water at or near the point where the rain fell. Flooding is a longer term event than flash flooding: it may last days or weeks (MRX webmaster, 2010). Flash flooding Flooding whereby it takes a very short period of time to form. In most cases flash floods few form and take place Nature of floods There are few places on Earth where people need not be concerned about flooding due to their location.

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Rain is not the only impetus for flood even a broken dam wall can be the stimuli of a flood. A flood occurs when water overflows or inundates land that's normally dry. This can happen in a multitude of ways. Most common floods are when rivers or streams overflow their banks. Excessive rain, a ruptured dam or levee, rapid ice melting in the mountains, or even an unfortunately placed beaver dam can overwhelm a river and send it spreading over the adjacent land, called a floodplain. Coastal flooding occurs when a large storm or tsunami causes the sea to surge inland (National Geographic Society, 2011).

Most floods take hours or days to develop, giving residents enough time to prepare or evacuate. Others happen quickly and with little warning. These flash floods can be extremely dangerous and cause major damage to the landscape and the habitants of such an area. Disaster specialists have various ways of classifying floods according to their likelihood of occurring and the intensity of the flood. A hundred-year flood, for example, is an extremely large, destructive event that would theoretically be expected to happen only once every century.

But this is a theoretical number. In reality, this classification means there is a one-percent chance that such a flood could happen in any given year. Over recent decades, possibly due to global climate change, hundred-year floods have been occurring worldwide with frightening regularity (National Geographic Society, 2011)

Main Causes of Flooding in South Africa

South Africa has been experiencing above average rainfall since December 2010 that has caused devastation on a scale the country has not seen in many years .

This unusual weather pattern is caused by the La Nina effect, and the resulting floods have caused unprecedented disruption of services, displacement of people, loss of livelihoods and even worse, loss of life . it is reported that over 20, 000 people have been affected by floods and an estimated 40 people have died. A national state of disaster has been declared in 28 district municipalities in 7 provinces, with more affected areas being reported

The Effect of Development on Flood Hazards in South Africa

Floods caused havoc across South Africa. Heavy rain in a short period of time in the part of South Africa, caused more than hundreds of people to be homeless by heavy flooding. Floods caused many to seek refuge on rooftops and on trees. This catastrophe killed more than hundreds of people causing the death toll to rise. Recently these floods caused evacuation of the Kruger National, a game reserve in Northern South Africa. Floods also covered some farmlands and crops were killed as a result forcing farms to close. Most of the roads, dams and large buildings were damaged. Due to flooding some mines were forced to close, this the case of a coal mines in Limpopo.

The Effect of the Economic Status of People Regarding Flood Hazards

Floods frequently causes major infrastructure damage of roads, railway lines, electricity supply systems, water supply and sewage disposal systems. Bribges over rivers are particularly exposed to damage and disruption of transportation systems follows. The economic effects of flooding are often greater than the flood itself. (Parker 2000) According to Parker (2000) because floods frequently destroy crops and livestock, food shortages are not uncommon in the aftermath.

Floods may affect food availability in a number of ways. Food stocks may be damaged if storage areas are flooded. Serious flooding usually disrupts transportation of food deficit areas, particularly in towns, which are cut off from supply sources and have inadequate food stock. Impacts of flooding may hinder the economic growth and development that is the high cost of relief and recovery may adversely impact investment in infrastructure and other development activities in the area and in certain cases may cripple the frail economy of the of the region.

Recurrent flooding in a region may discourage long-term investments by the government and private sector alike. Lack of livehoods, combined with migration of skilled labour and inflation may have a negative impact on a region’s economic growth. Loss of resource can lead to high costs of goods and services, delaying its development programmes. (Drep operation international federation of Red Cross and crescent societies). Figure 2 three kid were during floods in Limpopo


As discussed under various perspectives, it is clear from the assignment that floods had adverse impact on the socio-economic status of livehoods for people in South Africa more especially the residents of Limpopo. It is also evident that there are varying underlying causes of floods i South Africa. Places near the flood event are the most susceptible to the dangers of the floods. Proximity of these places and poverty were identified as being the main cause of vulnerability of people


  1. Drep Operation International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, 1. February. 2011. MRX webmaster, 2010. National Weather Services. [Online] Available at: http://www. srh. noaa. gov/mrx/hydro/flooddef. php [Accessed 13 March 2013].
  2. National Geographic Society, 2011. Natural Disasters: floods profile. [Online] Available at: http://environment. nationalgeographic. com/environment/natural-disasters/floods-profile/ [Accessed 12 March 2013].
  3. Parker, J. D2000. floods. Tangler and Francis, National Academy Press, Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Thailand. SAPA. 2013. Floods causes havoc across South Africa, Mail and Guardian, 20 January 2013.

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