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  •  Storm Surge Holland 1953 - A Comparison (4.00)
    In Katrina aftermath, NOLA was fully submerged making a city disfunctional, although the damage to levees was comparatively small and local.

    The damage to the Dutch dikes in 1953, 115 miles destroyed and an area of 380,000 acres were inundated . Mostly agricultural land with a number of towns, villages and cities with harbors of fishing based communities. The Dutch have lived with storms and dikes for centuries, the dikes watch was in place, but the 1953 storm was no match for the limited strength of the dikes.

    Similar to the damage done by Katrina hurricane, the authorities were warned for poor funding to have the dikes restored and meet the expected fury of a storm once in fifty years, that would flood the land.

    <click on map for animation storm surge North Sea coastline in 1953>   

    The consequences of the storm were desastreus: 1835 persons drowned, and some 20,000 cows, 1,750 horses and 12,000 pigs perished in the waves. Houses, schools, churches and other buildings: 47,300 damaged of which 10,000 irreparable. A length of 115 miles of dikes were destroyed or severely damaged by the power of the storm and waves resulting in flooding of 153,000 hectares (380,000 acres).

    A total of 72,000 persons were evacuated, therefore 1:40 were killed in the storm, approx. 2,5% of the population.

    <click on pic to enlarge>

    Flood Disaster - February 1, 1953

    Sea, tides and sand dunes

    A resistance, determination to exist and fight the elements of nature.

         "God created the Earth,
          but the Dutch created the Netherlands."

    American tourists do feel a bit uncomfortable in their approach to Amsterdam Airport: "Welcome ladies and gentlemen. We'll shortly be landing at Schiphol Airport, 15 feet below sea level."

    The Dutch do fear the onslaught of rising sea level as predicted by global warming and the melting glaciers. But after the 1953 spring tide storm disaster in their southern province of Zeeland, the Dutch rebuild all their dikes to a higher level and the immense structures to withstand all storms for a thousand years, statistically.

    The design of dikes has been unchanged for centuries, and only recently has seen a first failure of a sliding dike, due to ... drought! The Dutch design of dikes can also be witnessed in France, Normandy, from centuries ago.

    Emblem of Zeeland Province

    Coastal Guide to the Netherlands
    World Atlas

    To battle the rising tide - a political lesson from the Dutch: resistance, determination and invest in a plan.  

  • Oui - Liberté - Egalité - Fraternité

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