New Orleans - Could It Happen Here?

By Rob Last edited 161 months ago
New Orleans - Could It Happen Here?

In the wake of what's been going on in New Orleans over the past few days, the blog Pocket Planet Radio brings things a little closer to home by suggesting "New Orleans' fate might give Londoners pause for thought".

Flooding was identified as the main reason London was categorized as a Top 10 "megarisk" city in a recent insurance company report.

A Thames flood in 1953 killed 300 people and our major defense the Thames Barrier left unchanged will be rendered obsolete by rising sea-levels and geological processes which are causing South East England to sink at the rate of about 30cm per century. Barriers can of course be improved and maintained, but even the most up-to-date defense is prone to accidental damage.

And if that's made you rush to ebay and invest in a dinghy and pair of wellies then you probably shouldn't read this next bit:

Consider London Underground carries tens of thousands every hour and if London floods so do the underground tunnels... and quickly too. Admittedly the risks of both a flooding tide/storm and critical barrier damage occurring simultaneously are low, but they are not insignificant.

Don't think this is just a bit of Standard-esque scaremongering though, the post also contains a considered examination of what London's doing right now to protect itself from this kind of natural disaster and how aware the Government are of the problem.

It may all seems a little fantastical on paper, but, then again, up until this week the people of New Orleans probably thought the same thing.

Last Updated 01 September 2005