CredCrunch Newsletter, Issue No. 22, November 2010
This issue of the CRED Crunch reveals the human and economic impacts of floods, with a special focus on Europe. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the world but also in Europe. They have a significant impact on the health and mental status of communities.
General floods can be defined as gradually rising inland water levels due to high total depth of rainfall or snowmelt, caused when a body of water (e.g. rivers, lakes) overflows its normal confines. These floods are longer term events that may last for days or weeks, in contrast to flash floods which are rapid inland floods with a short duration. Flood-prone European countries, such as Romania, France or Greece, have annually recurring floods, which continuously cause human suffering and economic damages.
Although research has addressed the human and health impact of floods in Europe, results remain inconclusive and more evidence is needed to determine the long-term effects of these disasters.
Approaches to measure the impact of floods at a higher resolution using GIS can benefit health and disaster research, and can shed light on spatial distributions of flood occurrence and their consequences on the health of communities. Spatial disaster information is available in EM-DAT and its use is being explored in several studies. Linking this information with community-level public health data can reinforce the scientific body of evidence on the effects of disasters on human society, in Europe and worldwide.