Flood Crises

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Flooding kills people in every region of the world. According to recent studies an increased occurrence of such events due to the climate crisis is highly likely. Our first graphic below shows us the total number of deaths worldwide due to flooding.

  • 2 major spikes occurred during the 20th century - both in China.

  • In 1931 a series of devastating floods known as the Yangtze–Huai River floods were some of the deadliest floods in history, killing nearly 4 million people.

  • In 1959, during the Great Famine in China, the Yellow River flooded in East China. directly killing, either through starvation from crop failure or drowning, an estimated 2 million people.

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As time goes on and extreme weather events continue to occur more frequently and more ferociously, the economic cost of flooding will continue to rise.

  • An increase in flooding aid can be seen from around 1980 onwards.

  • From the early 1990s, the costs increase dramatically, with the biggest spike coming in 2011.

  • Serious flooding occurred all over the globe, including in China, India, Thailand and the US.

  • Europe also experienced serious flooding, mostly in France, Italy and Ireland.

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  • Thailand was hit with the world's worst flooding of 2011, which killed 815 people and affected another 13.6 million. The World Bank has estimated 1,425 trillion baht (US$46.5 billion) in economic damages and losses due to flooding, meaning this disaster ranked as the world's fourth costliest disaster (as of 2011).

  • China and the US also experienced some of the worst extreme-weather events in 2011, footing a significant portion of the global bill.

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  • From the 1960s onwards, we can see an exponential rise in the number of flooding events around the world, peaking in 2006 and 2007.

  • Despite the well-documented rise of extreme-weather events and natural disasters, the fall in flooding events between 2007 and 2017 is interesting.

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  • Below we can see that the spike in flooding events during 2007 is largely due to the 2007 South Asian floods, a series of terrible floods in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

  • The death toll was in excess of 2,000, with over 30 million people being displaced.

The 2007 South Asian floods were a series of terrible floods in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. News Agencies, citing the Indian and Bangladeshi governments, place the death toll in excess of 2,000.1 By 3 August approximately 20 million had been displaced2 and by 10 August some 30 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal had been affected by flooding.3

UNICEF said that the situation "is being described as the worst flooding in living memory".4

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Data Source:

EM-DAT: The Emergency Events Database - Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL) - CRED, D. Guha-Sapir - www.emdat.be, Brussels, Belgium