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Oct 15, 2011

Flood as Natural Disaster

An aerial view of flood at Choa Chu Kang village in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

An excerpt from Wikipedia:
A natural disaster is the effect of a natural hazard (e.g., flood, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake, heatwave, or landslide). It leads to financial, environmental or human losses. The resulting loss depends on the vulnerability of the affected population to resist the hazard, also called their resilience. This understanding is concentrated in the formulation: "disasters occur when hazards meet vulnerability." A natural hazard will hence never result in a natural disaster in areas without vulnerability, e.g. strong earthquakes in uninhabited areas. The term natural has consequently been disputed because the events simply are not hazards or disasters without human involvement.
Floods cannot be re-enacted a similar situation anywhere except in movies.

These photos of frequent floods in Singapore are posted here with the courtesy of the contributors at the National Archives of Singapore. Flood at various places in Singapore:

Flood relief registration at Potong Pasir in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood relief registration at Potong Pasir in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood relief registration at Potong Pasir in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Potong Pasir in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Potong Pasir in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Chinatown in 1954. The young men posed for a happy pose. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood in the kampong in 1954. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Chinatown in 1959. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Geylang in 1974. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Geylang in 1974. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Rochor Canal in 1974. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Rochor Canal in 1974. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Owen Road in 1974. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Orchard Road near Cold Storage supermarket in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Flood at Chua Chu Kang in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Floods at Bukit Timah in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Floods at Bukit Panjang in 1979. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Floods at Alexandra Road in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Floods at Alexandra Road in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Floods at Alexandra Road in 1978. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Playtime during flood


Flood as natural disaster versus Man-made solutions


Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister of Defence, Singapore reminisces his young days in Zion Road and childhood playtime during flood at Alexandra Canal here . His speech in Parliament entitled "Social Mobility in Our Early Years - A Massive Rising Tide".

Were these the Alexandra canals where Dr Ng once played in the "longkang" when he was a young boy?

Children playing at Alexandra Canal. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Children playing at Alexandra Canal. Source: National Archives of Singapore.

Any of us children who grew up in various parts of Singapore in the 1970s or earlier and missed the floods during playtime? Not for the concerned and worried parents whenever it floods though.

Note: All photos with watermark are courtesy of National Archives of Singapore.

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4 Comments:

Blogger lim said...

Thanks for showing those photos of floodings at Potong Pasir. I spent my childhood near this area, and the rainy season was always accompanied by stories of the big floods.

October 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you for sharing your childhood memories of the flood at Potong Pasir, Mr Lim. I have never lived at Potong Pasir.

Decades ago, many low-lying areas in Singapore were frequently flooded whenever it rains.  Over the years, the former Public Works Dept (PWD) or Ministry of Environment and relevant government agencies have upgraded and improved the drainage systems and the Singapore River tributaries to curb flooding problems during the monsoon seasons.

When I grew up in Bukit Ho Swee before the fire, the kampong on higher terrain was not flooded. 

However, the MCS Building and shophouses at Havelock Road near Delta Circus were often flooded. My urchins of Bukit Ho Swee buddies used to catch "longkang" fishes and it was playtime whenever the place was flooded. 

Many areas at Havelock Road and Zion Road HDB housing estates have been elevated. The drainage schemes at Alexandra Canal were also redeveloped and are no longer flood-prone today.

October 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger Andy Young* said...

Great pictures Thim. I remember Potong Pasir well because of St. Andrew's School. I never knew the flood situation there was so bad.
Cheers.

October 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger saobing said...

I notice that there are many happy faces in the photos. And the water level looks like it is higher than the recent floods.

November 16, 2011 at 7:31 PM  

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