Effects of floods on humans and animals

Impact on humans

Humans can be affected in a number of ways from flooding. There are many different types of flooding and this can have a considerable impact on people.

Flash flooding is arguably the most dangerous in regards to human life. People can often be caught unaware in a flash flood and find themselves unable to escape the water. Flooding poses a significant threat of drowning, along with other water related injuries.

However flash floods are not the only kind that poses threats to human life.

Flood water often picks up debris and pollution from the sheer volume of water. This leads to the water being very dangerous to walk or swim in. People may be hit by debris causing scratches or deeper gashes. The flood water also carries harmful bacteria that can come from many areas, dead animals, rubbish and under these conditions disease outbreaks can occur.

This is one example of the possible pollution that floods can collect. Though there are some more extreme cases and some that are not as severe.

Often people are caught in cars or other vehicles and this also poses a significant threat to human life. The strength of the flood water often is enough to carry the car along in the water. This can be especially dangerous if people do not evacuate the car.

Aquaplaning is a considerable danger if people are not familiar with driving on a road with a large volume of water. It is also a more common danger in the beginnings of a flood when people are possibly trying to evacuate or get home in time to prepare.

These flood dangers apply to any flood in any area. There is obvious risks surrounding people being in an area prone to floods. However it does mean that people are able to prepare and to prevent damage and injury.

Impact on animals

Floods can have both a positive or negative impact on animals.

Floods can often spur on migration, dispersion, and can be a signal for breeding events. This can strengthen a species, it can especially help marine life to thrive.

Floods more so pose a negative threat to animals, namely land animals. In Australia kangaroos can often suffer from the effects of floods. Joeys can be washed from their mothers pouches and become stranded. This too can have the same effect for livestock and pets. Fences often can confine animals to a certain area unable to escape. Flooding also effects access to food as often grazing paddocks can be saturated in water and unable to consume.

Birds, though their habitats may remain intact and safe, lose a significant source of their nourishment. Water logged grass and land is not a feasible place to forage for insects. This means that birds have to relocate or be at risk for starvation and malnourishment.

Animals that are arguably most at risk are those that reside in burrows. There may be no possible way for the animal to escape the flood water and therefore burrows could be very easily filled with water and the animals could drown. Animals that may be affected are wide-spread including: wombats, rabbits, and echidnas.