Deaths during the 1953 North Sea Storm Surge

05/2005; DOI: 10.1061/40774(176)75

ABSTRACT From 31 January to 1 February 1953, a North Sea storm surge devastated coastal areas of the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Apart from enormous economic damage and severe societal disruption, over 2,000 people died across the three countries. This paper discusses the available data on loss of life in these three countries and examines the application of these data for loss of life estimations and general flood management practices.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The concept of resilience was introduced at the beginning of the 70s to indicate the capability of natural systems to absorb perturbations, preserving their structure and keeping the system functioning. The paper considers London as an example to a resilient city by focusing on some remarkable disasters in the history of London, such as the Great Fire of 1666, the air raids during the World War 2, 18 December 1987 Kings Cross Fire, terrorist attack to tube network on the 7th of July 2005, 1928 flooding and 1953 storm surge. The paper starts by giving short descriptions of these disasters and continues by discussing the lessons learned. In this paper, the concept of resilience has been studied in three phases: prepare for, respond to and recover from a disaster. In conclusion, the notable effects of the mentioned disasters on the structural and non-structural tools for disaster prevention have been revealed by considering resilience of London.
    TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment 01/2012; 5(2):147-158.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper provides a comparison of the causes, effects and aftermaths of the coastal flooding that occurred on the east coast of England in 1953 and the west coast of France in 2010 that resulted in 307 and 47 deaths respectively. The causes of both events are strikingly similar. Both were caused by a combination of high tides, low atmospheric pressure, high winds and the failure of poorly maintained flood defences. In both cases the number of deaths was related to the vulnerability of the buildings and people. Buildings in the flood zones were often single storey bungalows and the people who died were mostly over 60 yr of age. Both tragedies were national disasters. The 1953 flood in England acted as a catalyst for an acceleration in flood risk management policy and practice. It resulted in: the development of a Storm Tide Warning System for the east coast of England; the setting of new design standards for coastal flood defences; increased investment in improving coastal defences; and a substantial new research effort into coastal processes, protection and forecasting. In France there has also been an episodic shift in flood risk management policy with the focus falling on: control of urban developments in areas at risk of flooding; improved coastal forecasting and warning; strengthening of flood defences; and developing a "culture of risk awareness". This paper outlines the lessons that can be learnt from the two events and provides recommendations concerning how future loss of life as a result of coastal flooding can be reduced.
    Natural hazards and earth system sciences 01/2011; 11:2321-2333. · 1.75 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Using newly digitised sea-level data for the ports of Southampton (1935–2005) and Portsmouth (1961–2005) on the south coast of the UK, this study investigates the relationship between the 100 highest sea-level events recorded at the two cities and the incidence of coastal floods in the adjoining Solent region. The main sources of flood data are the daily newspapers The Southern Daily Echo, based in Southampton and The News, based in Portsmouth, supported by a range of local publications and records. The study indicates a strong relationship between the highest measured sea levels and the incidence of coastal floods and highlights the most vulnerable areas to coastal flooding which include parts of Portsmouth, Southampton, Hayling Island, Fareham and Cowes. The most severe flood in the dataset resulted from the storm surge events of 13–17 December 1989 when eight consecutive extreme high waters occurred. The data suggest that while extreme sea-level events are becoming more common, the occurrence of flood events is not increasing. This is attributed to improved flood remediation measures combined with a reduction of storm intensity since the 1980s. However, several recent events of significance were still recorded, particularly 3 November 2005 when Eaststoke on Hayling Island (near Portsmouth) was flooded due to high sea levels combined with energetic swell waves.
    Natural Hazards 12/2011; · 1.64 Impact Factor


Available from