Ground Report | New Delhi: Floods will affect 145 million people; Human action, in general, has increased the risk of flooding since the 1980s in many regions of the world, such as Great Britain, which recently suffered a serious episode, or Spain, whose Mediterranean coast is highly exposed to these phenomena.
The World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently highlighted that, in the last 40 years, humanity has had to face costs of over a trillion euros as a result of floods. According to the latest study by that institution, an already large figure will be exponentially increased by 2030.
“According to our measurement tool, the number of people affected by river floods will increase from 65 million in 2010 to 132 million in 2030, and the number of people affected by coastal flooding will increase from 7 million to 15 million ” from the WRI.
As a consequence, this increase in the number of people affected will increase costs, from 145 billion euros a year for the repair of urban areas, to more than 500 billion. Coasts will also experience this increase, from € 15 billion to € 163 billion, due to storms and waves.
For example, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia have some of the largest populations affected by river and coastal flooding each year. By 2030, these three countries will represent 44% of the world population affected annually by river floods, and 58% of the population affected by coastal flooding.
“At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is already threatening human health and economies, it is clear that flood protection should be a priority investment for governments and other decision-makers,” they have pointed out from the organization. According to the study, three main vectors are accelerating the risk of floods in the world. In a future marked by climate change, the rains will be much more localized in time and will be stronger, thus increasing the risk of flooding.
First is climate change, which promises to intensify rainfall and waves, produced by more severe storms. Peñíscola, in Castellón, this year experienced an example of what climate change can cause on the coast when a great sea storm swept through the town’s promenade and front-line shops in a matter of minutes.
After this factor, the WRI points out the demographic growth as another of the drivers of the floods since, to accommodate the new arrival of population, many cities of the world are beginning to build houses in areas with a high percentage of flooding, such as some localized in the United Kingdom.
“Even in Saudi Arabia, some 614,000 people in the country are expected to be affected by river flooding annually by 2030, a tenfold increase from the current risk, thanks in large part to new development near rivers,” they said. informed.
Floods will affect 145 million people
Finally, they point to land subsidence, largely caused by over-exploitation of groundwater, as another cause of flooding. The three factors together will cause Spain to invest 420 million euros in repair costs in urban areas by 2030 and only in regions close to rivers. If we extrapolate this information to the coast, our country will have to spend about 230 million more euros for that year.
If we talk about people at risk, the WRI estimates that in Spain the figure will increase by almost 50 thousand people affected by floods by 2030. Because of the scenarios that the WRI offers, investing in protective infrastructure becomes imperative to save the lives of people and the economies of countries.
“In the three countries with the highest rates of people affected (India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia), each euro invested in infrastructure could mean between 110 and 200 euros saved in repair costs in urban areas,” they have commented from the WRI. On the other hand, the study has also highlighted that investment in this field will bring various benefits, such as creating new jobs, since the construction and maintenance of new infrastructures require a new workforce.
However, in this sense, they have pointed out that it is worth remembering that dikes, for example, are not only the only weapons we have to mitigate floods: ” green infrastructure, such as mangroves, reefs, and dunes act as natural buffers to coastal storms. Intact forests, meanwhile, prevent erosion and can reduce landslides. ” For this reason, the WRI encourages reaching a balance between both infrastructures to not only protect ourselves from the dangers of climate change but to preserve a natural environment that is being lost.