1.47 bn people face flood risk worldwide; over a third from India, China alone

at 3:14 pm
1.47 bn people face flood risk worldwide; over a third from India, China alone
Representational/file photo

New Delhi (NVI): About 1.47 billion people around the world are exposed to the risk of intense flooding, over a third of them from India and China alone, according to a report of the World Bank.

According to the report, the estimated data from 189 countries were large number populations are not safe revealed that flooding is one of the most common and hazards in distributing people’s lives and livelihoods around the world.

It added that, “Yet, the sheer number of people in harm’s way is particularly large in South and East Asia. These regions are home to the majority of flood-exposed people, about 1.36 billion, with China (329 million) and India (225 million) alone accounting for over a third.”

It is also explained that in these regions several large and densely populated areas are in high-risk flood zones, such as coastal areas or low-lying river plains, for instance along the Mekong, Brahmaputra, or Irrawaddy rivers.

Using the high-resolution flood hazard and population maps, as well as poverty estimates from the World Bank’s Global Subnational Atlas of Poverty and Global Monitoring Database, “Around 1.47 billion people worldwide are directly exposed to the risk of flooding with inundation depths of over 0.15 meters.”

Over half of this exposed population, flooding could be even higher reaching life-threatening levels, especially for children and the disabled, it added.

Furthermore, the most devastating long-term consequences of floods are often experienced by the poorest households – those who have next to no savings and limited access to support systems.

The World Bank stated that it is possible identify where floods would cause prolonged adverse impacts on livelihoods and well-being, considering the dimension of poverty.

In regard to this measure, countries in sub-Saharan Africa face the greatest threat. An estimate of the 171 million flood-exposed people in this region, at least 71 million people live in extreme poverty (i.e. living on less than USD 1.90 a day).

Globally, 587 million poor people are exposed to flood risk, 132 million of which live in extreme poverty.

The World Bank also informed that, critically, income level is a relatively reliable proxy for the ability of people to mitigate, cope with, and recover from floods. “For instance, while a large share of the Dutch population lives in flood-risk areas, large-scale investments in flood protection infrastructure have enabled them to mitigate risks, it said.

Similarly, flood-exposed populations in Canada or Japan are more likely to have access to rapid government support systems in post-disaster situations compared to people in Malawi or Bangladesh.

However, strengthening disaster prevention and recovery capacity is most urgently needed in the hotspots where poverty and flood exposure coincide.