Long-Term Effects of Flooding

When people face a flood like the one caused by multiple dam failures in Michigan, often the urge is to think of immediate needs — food, water, shelter. As you evacuate, those core items are essential and take precedence. But at the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that severe flooding can also have numerous long-term effects on people’s property and lives.

Floods can have consequences on all spheres of life in an area, including socially, economically, and environmentally. It’s not just the displacement of people: floods can disrupt everything from water cleanliness to electricity to health care and education. Additionally, areas affected by floods may face a loss of land value, which can then hurt the communities’ economies.

In terms of physical destruction, dam failures — and the floods they cause — can have a monumental impact on a community. Roads, bridges, residential properties, and farms can be destroyed, as well as businesses and homes, which can take a long time to both rebuild and reopen. Flooding even causes soil erosion, which can greatly impact crop yield.

Floodwaters can damage your home, destroying walls and flooring. In some cases, flooding can even lead to a home’s weakened structure. Those who may be covered under insurance for flooding may still find their claims being denied as many others file.

Moreover, flooding can also impact people on a very personal level. Floods can take away human life, and leave those who escaped feeling a range of emotions including anxiety, fear, sadness, and grief.

A flood has the power to do more than force an evacuation — it can impact a community of people’s mental health, livelihoods, and property for years to come.

Those displaced by the floods may be eligible to file a lawsuit to get compensation for their losses. Take this quiz to see if you have a case.