The 1931 Central China Flood

24 February 2015, 12:00 - 14:00

Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

The 1931 Central China flood: An Environmental History of a Humanitarian Disaster

Speaker: Chris Courtney (University of Cambridge)
Respondent: Helen Curry (HPS, University of Cambridge)



In 1931 a devastating flood struck Central China, inundating an area the size of Great Britain populated by an estimated fifty-three million people. This paper examines the subsequent humanitarian disaster as part of the broader ecology of the flood pulse. Inundations have a complex impact upon ecosystems, killing millions of organisms whilst creating opportunities for others. The human experience of the 1931 flood was inextricably linked to the fortunes of the plants, cattle, insects, and molluscs that lived within affected river basins. At the same time, falling rain was filtered through a complex social environment. Pre-existing vulnerabilities, inequalities, and cultural knowledge each played a key role in determining the human response to the flood pulse


Open to all. No registration required

Part of the Global Science Research Group seminar series