On August 18, 1931, the Yangtze River in China peaked during a horrible flood inundated an area equivalent in size to England & half of Scotland.
It is considered the worst natural disaster of the 20th century.
From June to August 1931, the river-basin area received above-average rainfall, leading to a series of floods. The rising waters drove 500,000 people from their homes by the beginning of August.
The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and is one of the world’s major waterways. The region’s people, most of whom lived at subsistence level, depended on the river for water for their personal and farming needs.
As the waters continued to rise in the first half of August and even more rain fell, the rice fields that dominated the landscape were swamped, destroying the crop. Major cities such as Wuhan and Nanjing depended on this rice and, without it, people in the cities starved to death.
The floods affected the lives of an estimated 52 million people and killed as many as 2 million from flooding or starvation.
On today’s podcast, we take a look at what factors led to the disaster, why the region is susceptible to flooding and what measures have taken place to avoid a similar event.
"This Day In Weather History” is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei. Click here to listen and subscribe!