Almost one in four people in the world at risk of severe floods: Survey

In Bangladesh, the Red Cross states that due to the severe floods, 7 million people are “urgently” in need of shelter and assistance.

A new study released Tuesday warns that nearly a quarter of the world’s population is at significant flood risk and people in poor countries are more vulnerable.

Flooding from heavy rain Storm surges affect millions of people each year, causing billions of dollars in damage to homes, infrastructure and the economy.

And the risk is rising as follows Climate change As the exposed population expands, it causes more extreme precipitation and sea level rise.

New research published in the journal Nature CommunicationsI saw Global data About seas, rivers, flood risk from rainfall, World Bank population distribution and poverty estimates.

A 100-year flood found that about 1.81 billion people, or 23% of the world, were directly exposed to floods in excess of 15 centimeters (6 inches).

“This will pose a significant risk to the lives and livelihoods of a particularly vulnerable population,” the study said.

Overall, nearly 90 percent of people exposed to flooding are lower or Middle income countryAccording to research.

He also concluded that the number of people in poverty and at serious flood risk was “significantly higher than previously thought.”

Researchers have found about $ 9.8 trillion Economic activity Globally (about 12% of the world’s gross domestic product in 2020) is in areas exposed to severe floods.

But they simply Monetary value It can cause a bias to focus attention on high-income countries and economic hubs.

“By explaining the poverty levels of the exposed population, we show that while low-income countries are disproportionate to flood risk, they are more vulnerable to catastrophic long-term effects.” A study by World Bank Jun Renschler and colleagues said.

Increased risk

Overall, the study estimates that most flood-exposed people (1.24 billion people) are in South and East Asia, with China and India accounting for more than one-third of the world total. I am.

It turns out that about 780 million people living on less than $ 5.50 a day are at risk of a once-in-a-century flood.

Thomas McDermott of the National University of Ireland, Galway, said the study provides “the first global estimate of the interaction between flood risk exposure and poverty.” Nature Communications..

The authors said previous studies were often limited by geographic conditions or the type of flood risk assessed and underestimated how many people around the world were exposed.

“Climate change and dangerous urbanization patterns are expected to exacerbate these risks in the coming years,” they added.

According to the World Weather Attribution, a network of scientists tracking the effects of climate change Global warming Extreme weather is more common and more intense in most parts of the world.

Scientists have emphasized that other human factors, such as decisions about where homes and infrastructure will be built, are also involved, which could have made floods more serious in these areas. I have.

Record floods in southern China have displaced more than 500,000 people this month.

In Bangladesh, the Red Cross said on Tuesday that seven million people are still “urgently” in need of shelter and assistance after the heaviest rains of the first century inflated rivers to record levels and flooded rural areas. rice field.

Rain, Floods, Green Infrastructure: Are Cities Fairly Mitigating Dangers?

For more information:
Jun Rentschler et al, Flood Exposure and Poverty in 188 Countries, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-30727-4

Thomas KJ McDermott, Global Exposure to Flood Risk and Poverty, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-30725-6

© 2022 AFP

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Almost one in four people in the world at risk of severe floods: Survey

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