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Flood risk in Europe 1

Reported flood occurence and impact, regional comparison.
Reported flood occurence and
impact, regional comparison.
Source: CRED

Flooding is a natural hazard many countries world wide are confronted with. The Darthmouth Flood Observatory (DFO) records all floods in a central data base. The world maps of flooding shows that floods are not limited to specific areas, but are widespread. The DFO statistics show that floods in third-world countries usually cause many casualties and comparatively little damage, whereas floods in Europe and the USA cause enormous economic damage, but relatively small numbers of victims.

This is also shown in the diagram by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of disasters on the basis of the period between 1997 and 2006. The diagram shows the regional spread of flood occurrences and consequences over the world in the past 10 years. Ten years is a short period to draw conclusions but the trend corresponds with the data from DFO. You see that Asia has a high percentage of flood occurrences and most people that have been affected by floods are from Asia. Part of this can be attributed to the tsunami on Boxing day 2004. Around 160.000 people lost their lives and 5 million people in total were affected. Europe is fortunately hardly visible in the middle bars, but did have a significant amount of floods and damages in the ten years the diagram shows.

Reported flood frequency.
Reported flood frequency.
Source: UNEP/GRID-Geneva

The map on the left shows the areas where floods have occurred between 1980 and 2000. Most countries experienced floods as you can see. In Europe flash floods, floods caused by rivers overflowing or breaching their banks, coastal floods, urban floods and ponding through excessive rainfall are all possible. This sequence of yearly images shows the extent of flooded areas in Europe in the years 1985 to 2007. A red surface means that in the area flooding occurred.

The virtual tour shows several examples of floods and leads you to information on flood types and some mechanisms behind them.