Archives for the month of: February, 2012

The World’s Worst Floods
The Deadliest Floods As Measured By Death Toll

Throughout history, floods have proven to be the deadliest natural disasters. This is mainly due to the high population densities around rivers. When well-behaved, rivers provide the resources needed for agriculture, transportation, and industry. It is no accident that all of the ancient civilizations rose around rivers.

It also should be noted that not all of the dead were the victims of the initial floodwaters. Disease and famine that followed the disasters probably killed more than the floodwaters themselves.

Flooding disasters primarily as a result of typhoons or hurricanes have been excluded from this list and are instead included on the list of worst hurricane disasters.

Huang He (Yellow) River, China
Death Toll: 1,000,000 to 3,700,000

The Huang He River is prone to flooding because of the broad expanse of plain that lies around it. One of the major reasons for the flooding is the high silt content that gives the river its yellow tint (and thus its name). The silt—which constitutes as much as 60% of its volume—builds up until the river actually is higher than the surrounding land. The tendency to flood is exacerbated by ice dams which block the river in Mongolia; the dams back up the water, and then release devastating walls of water when they break.

The history of flooding has prompted the Communist Chinese government to embark on a program of building dams for flood control. The dams, however, have not proven entirely effective and have been the target of criticism from environmentalists.

Huang He (Yellow) River, China
Death Toll: 900,000 to 2,000,000

Huang He (Yellow) River, China
Death Toll: 500,000 – 900,000

The 1938 flood of the Huang He was caused by Nationalist Chinese troops under Chiang Kai-Shek when they broke the levees in an attempt to turn back advancing Japanese troops. The strategy was partly successful. By 1940, the Japanese were essentially in a stalemate with Chinese forces.

Huang He (Yellow) River, China
Death Toll: 300,000

Chinese rebels destroy the dikes along the city of Kaifeng, flooding the surrounding countryside.

Ru River, Banqiao Dam, China
Death Toll: 230,000

This flood was caused by the collapse of the Banquia Dam, along with several others, following a heavy rain caused by a typhoon. It is the worst dam related collapse in history.

Yangtze River, China
Death Toll: 145,000

Although the Huang He has caused more deaths, the Yangtze has had more than 1,000 recorded floods.

The Netherlands and England
Death Toll: 100,000

A combination of high tides and storms flooded the Thames and the Netherlands, killing 100,000.

The Netherlands
Death Toll: 50,000

A seawall on the Zuider Zee failed, flooding the low-lying polder.

The Neva River, Russia
Death Toll: 10,000

An ice dam clogged the Neva, flooding nearby cities.

The Netherlands
Death Toll: 10,000

The failure of a seawall on the Zuider Zee flooded the Dutch lowlands.

Jane Wagner:
A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?

Jane Wagner:
I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.

Jane Wagner:
Our ability to delude ourselves may be an important survival tool.

Alice Walker:
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on Earth is it for.

Alice Walker:
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.

Lydonna Walker:
You need to ride the horse when it’s alive, not beat it when it’s dead.

Michelle Walker:
If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve obviously never been in bed with a mosquito.

Barbara Walters:
Success can make you go one of two ways. It can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out.

Carolyn Warner:
Years ago fairy tales all began with “Once upon a time…”, now we know they all begin with, “If I am elected…”

Christi Warner:
A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you anyway.

Martha Washington:
I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.

Faye Wattleton:
The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.

June Wayne:
The arts are the rain forests of society. They produce the oxygen of freedom, and they are the early warning system when freedom is in danger.

Cathy Weatherford:
What you teach your own children is what you really believe in.

Mary Webb:
If you stop to be kind, you must swerve often from your path.

Barbara Weeks:
Happiness is being married to your best friend.

Simone Weil:
All sins are attempts to fill voids.

Simone Weil:
Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.

Simone Weil:
Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.

Simone Weil:
To be a hero or a heroine, one must give an order to oneself.

Anita Weiss:
I moved to New York City for my health. I’m paranoid and New York was the only place where my fears were justified.

Lina Wertmuller:
You should always carry a gun. Not to shoot yourself, but to know that you’re always making a choice.

Jessamyn West:
It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.

Jessamyn West:
Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.

Jessamyn West:
We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don’t, it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.

Mae West:
I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.

Mae West:
I feel like a million tonight ?but one at a time.

Mae West:
I generally avoid temptation, unless I can’t resist it.

Mae West:
I go for two kinds of men:the kind with muscles, and the kind without.

Mae West:
I wrote the story myself. It’s about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.

Mae West:
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.

Mae West:
It’s hard to be funny when you have to be clean.

Mae West:
It’s not the men in my life that count, it’s the life in my men.

Mae West:
Keep a diary, and someday it’ll keep you.

Mae West:
Loves conquers all things except poverty and toothache.

Mae West:
Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.

Mae West:
To err is human, but is feels divine.

Mae West:
Virtue has its own reward, but no box office.

Mae West:
When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

Mae West:
When women go wrong, men go right after them.

Meredith West:
If you want to stand out, don’t be different, be outstanding.

Rebecca West:
Any authentic work of art must start an argument between the artist and his audience.

Rebecca West:
Before a war, military science seems a real science, like astronomy. After a war it seems more like astrology.

Rebecca West:
God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide.

Rebecca West:
He is every other inch a gentleman.

Rebecca West:
People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

Rebecca West:
There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.

Vivienne Westwood:
It is not possible for a man to be elegant without a touch of femininity.

Edith Wharton:
If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.

Edith Wharton:
Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.

Edith Wharton:
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or to be the mirror that reflects it.

Margaret Wheatley:
The things we fear most in organizations ?fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances ?are the primary sources of creativity.

Lynn White:
We live in an era when rapid change breeds fear, and fear too often congeals us into a rigidity which we mistake for stability.

Katharine Whitehorn:
A food is not necessarily essential just because your child hates it.

Katharine Whitehorn:
A good listener is not someone with nothing to say. A good listener is a good talker with a sore throat.

Katharine Whitehorn:
Have you ever taken something out of the clothes hamper because it had become, relatively, the cleanest thing?

Katharine Whitehorn:
No nice men are good at getting taxis.

Katharine Whitehorn:
The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.

Katharine Whitehorn:
Why do born-again people so often make you wish they’d never been born the first time?

Faith Whittlesey:
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.

Anna Wickham:
It is well within the order of things that man should listen when his mate sings; but the true male never yet walked who liked to listen when his mate talked.

Suzan Wiener:
Often the best thing about not saying anything is that it can’t be repeated.

Colleen Wilcox:
Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.

Oprah Winfrey:
You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at one time.

Liz Winston:
I rely on my personality for birth control.

Liz Winston:
I think, therefore I’m single.

Liz Winston:
When mom found my diaphram, I told her it was a bathing cap for my cat.

Shelley Winters:
All marriages are happy. It’s trying to live together afterwards that causes all the problems.

Laurie Jo Wojcik:
Daughters go into analysis hating their fathers and come out hating their mothers. They never come out hating themselves.

Harriet Woods:
You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victems.

Virginia Woolf:
Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by his heart, and his friends can only read the title.

Virginia Woolf:
Humor is the first of the gifts to perish in a foreign tongue.

Virginia Woolf:
I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Virginia Woolf:
If one could be friendly with women, what a pleasure ?the relationship so secret and private compared with relations with men.

Virginia Woolf:
If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

Virginia Woolf:
Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.

Virginia Woolf:
The first duty of a lecturer: to hand you after an hour’s discourse a nugget of pure truth to wrap up between the pages of your notebooks, and keep on the mantlepiece forever.

Virginia Woolf:
The older one grows, the more one likes indecency.

Virginia Woolf:
To enjoy freedom we have to control ourselves.

Beverly Wright:
Be sure to dip the biscuit while the gravy’s warm.

Kristi Wrightson:
You need to be fully committed to the habit you want to create.

Claudia Young:
If age imparted wisdom, there wouldn’t be any old fools.