A quarter of the world’s population live under flood risks

Close to 90% of people exposed to flood waters live in lower or middle income countries

The Assam floods have left close to 140 dead as per latest count. Relief measures are in full swing but that wouldn’t be enough to save the state from suffering. The flood scene in the North Eastern state of India brings to the fore the manner in which nature has been fighting back against the bane of human excesses.

A look at a recent study reveals that around a quarter of the world’s total population are exposed to significant flood risks, and that people living in poorer countries have turned out to be more vulnerable. The study findings go on to add that heavy rainfall and occurrences of storm have been pushing millions of the planet’s inhabitants to risk by destroying homes and economies.

Poverty-affected population under severe flood risks

The ill effects of climate change are showing up much more than ever, bringing populations the world over at increased risk. A deeper look at the study, which has been published in the Nature Communications journal, would make it clear that the risk due to flooding of rivers and the sea and excessive rainfall have grown. 

It has been revealed that close to 1.81 billion people who make up for 23 percent of the people on earth come as directly exposed to floods of over 15 centimetres in 1-in-100-year flooding. Researchers believe that such a situation would mean that it would usher in enhanced risks to lives and livelihoods, and the most affected would be the vulnerable people.

The study has added that around 90 percent of those exposed to flood waters reside in lower or middle income countries. Poverty-stricken families who are under serious flood risk threat has been calculated as substantially higher than previously thought.

floods village
Poverty-stricken families who are under serious flood risk threat has been calculated as higher.

Vulnerable people more in South and East Asia

The researchers who undertook the study have also pointed out that accounting for the poverty levels of exposed populations would mean that low-income countries are disproportionately exposed to flood risks, while being more vulnerable to disastrous long-term impacts. Looking deeper into region-wise data, it becomes clear that most people who are exposed to inundation by flood waters account for 1.24 billion and they live in South and East Asia.

People living in India and China form more than a third of the global total. And among these people, around 780 million who survive on less than $5.50 a day are more at risk from once-in-a-hundred-year floods. The situation is expected to turn grave owing to climate change and risky urbanization patterns in the coming years, the study elaborated.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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