1975 Banqiao Dam failure


In 1975, in the Banqiao district of Taiwan,
an enormous dam collapse resulted in one of the greatest natural disasters in recorded
history. In 1952 the Banqiao dam was finished being
made. Following its completion, the dam was reinforced
in 1955 to fit Soviet specifications. Due to its extreme durability the dam was
eventually nicknamed the ”Iron Dam.” However, 23 years after its completion, a
stationary typhoon caused 7.5 inches of rain to fall over Banqiao at 190 mm rainfall per
hour. Due to the unexpected buildup of rain, the
dam eventually failed. The dam began to collapse, creating a rush
of water up to 10 meters high and 10km wide in some areas, traveling at about 50km per
hour. 700 million m3 of water was released in 6
hours wiping out an area 55km long and 15 km wide. This created temporary lakes as large as 12,000
square kilometers. Seven county seats were flooded, as were thousands
of square kilometers of countryside and countless communities. Along with the heavy rains and the building
faults, deforestation and mining that had occurred in the preceding years all contributed
to the disaster. Over 10,000,000 people were affected by this
disaster. Around 230,000 people died due to the dam
failure with around 85,000 of those deaths being instantaneous. Within 9 days, over 1,000,000 people were
trapped from the flood. The rest of the lives were lost to either
being stranded in the flood or diseases caused by water contamination. The flood destroyed infrastructures and prevented
people from entering or leaving. There was no way to communicate with them. They were left isolated, with no sign of rescue
being on the way, except for food being air dropped to survivors. Looking back on a catastrophic event such
as this, one would assume many cautionary measures have been taken to ensure sure nothing
like this would ever happen again. However, besides general safety measures in
dam construction due to advancements in technology, it seems there have been no mitigation or
adaptation strategies taken in preparation for any future accidents. On the contrary, not only in Taiwan, but also
in China, multitudes of dams are being built to increase the country’s energy production. Because of this, the risk of another catastrophic dam accident is on the rise. Although the Banqiao dam disaster was a result of natural causes, an increase in China and Taiwan’s dams is only fuel for their next major disaster.

4 thoughts on “1975 Banqiao Dam failure

  1. Not a natural disaster and NOT in Taiwan. How pathetic is the voice -over? Useless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *