The 1999 Floods in Venezuela

July 18th, 2006 by David

   In 1999, it rained for half a month straight and Caracas and surrounding states were severely flooded. It is estimated that 30,000 people died as flood waters swept away houses along rivers and landslides destroyed the houses built on hillsides.

   Most of these houses were houses of the poor – the ‘shantytowns’ that rise up the hillsides and line the river banks. In Caracas, I was amazed at how the sides of the valley were packed with houses of the poor. Below are some photos I took from afar (I did not explorer these areas, as I was told they were not safe!)

Slums rising up around Caracas
Slums, MacDonalds
Traffif and slums in background

   Floods like the 1999 disaster may become more common as the earth warms – many models predict that there will be more heavy rain storms. Cleary, people should build stronger homes in less vunerable areas. But, when the floods do come, it is those who are least able to adapt who will suffer the most.

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