On that night, none of the local radio stations broadcast at night, and many of the smaller weather stations operated only during the day, as a result the warnings did not penetrate the flood-threatened areas in time and consequently people were unable to prepare for the impending flood. Telephone and telegraph networks were disrupted, and to make it worst, the disaster struck on a Saturday night and many emergency related offices were unstaffed.
The flood put a large parts of South Holland, Zeeland and Noord-Brabant under water and covered 9% of Dutch farmland and sea water inundated 1,365 km² of land. An estimated of 30,000 livestocks drowned, and 47,300 buildings were damaged of which 10,000 were totally destroyed. The salt water contaminated the farmland for many years to come.
The Schielandse Hoge Zeedijk dike along the river Hollandse Ijssel was all that protected three million people in the provinces of South and North Holland from flooding. A section of this dike, known as the Groenendijk, was not reinforced with stone revetments. The waterlevel was just below the crest and the seaside slope was weak. Volunteers worked to reinforce this stretch. Nevertheless, the Groenendijk collapsed under the pressure around 5:30 am on 1 February. Seawater flooded into the deep polder. In desperation, the mayor of Nieuwerkerk commanded the river ship de Twee Gebroeders (The Two Brothers) and ordered the owner to plug the hole in the dike by navigating the ship into it. Fearing that the ship might break through and dive into the polder, captain Arie Evegroen took a row boat with him. The mayor's plan turned out to be successful, as the ship lodged itself firmly into the dike, saving many lives.
The storm surge did not only affect Netherlands, but it caused many fatalities in other countries as well. 307 people were killed in the United Kingdom, in the counties of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, meanwhile 28 were killed in West Flanders, Belgium. Further loss of life exceeding 230 occurred on watercraft along Northern European coasts as well as in deeper waters of the North Sea; the ferry MV Princess Victoria was lost at sea in the North Channel east of Belfast with 133 fatalities, and many fishing trawlers sank.
In total, approximately 2,400 people were killed.
A beautiful Dutch movie "De Storm", a fictional story based on the tragedy was released at the cinema in 2009. We bought the Dvd, but I have yet to see it.
We think it is imperative Ilham learns swimming because the lessons require him to swim in deeper water and helps building the stamina. Here is some of the videos of Ilham and children at ISA getting their respective diplomas, taken in June 2010.
This is the start of the diploma A testing. They had to jump in fully clothed withs socks & shoes, float for 15 seconds (I think) and swim breaststroke for about 18 meters, dive and turn under the rope and swim on the back to the end of the pool.
In the video above, they had to dive in, swim underwater for 3 meters, go through the hole, resurface and continue swimming 50 meters of breaststroke and then 50 meters backstroke.
Jumped in straight like a pencil and swam backstroke for 10 meters.
Celebrations !!! After receiving their diplomas, the children celebrated by dancing around the pool. The colourful banners were placed there just for the occassion. Some parents bought flowers and little presents to give to their children. We bought AJAX ball for Ilham :D