Flood Disaster Management

Flooding is the most common hydrological hazard – with global economic losses from floods averaging US$3 billion a year, predicted to become US$1 trillion a year by 2050. Over the last 100 years they have also been the most fatal disasters, ruining families, communities, and at times, setting back national development and progress. According to an article in the Journal Nature Climate Change, average global flood losses in 2005 are estimated to be approximately US$6 billion per year, increasing to US$52 billion by 2050 with projected socio-economic change alone. The authors add that “With climate change and subsidence, present protection will need to be upgraded to avoid unacceptable losses of US$1 trillion or more per year. Even if adaptation investments maintain constant flood probability, subsidence and sea-level rise will increase global flood losses to US$60– 63 billion per year in 2050.” And, most relevant as regards flood disaster management: “To maintain present flood risk, adaptation will need to reduce flood probabilities below present values. In this case, the magnitude of losses when floods do occur would increase, often by more than 50%, making it critical to also prepare for larger disasters than we experience today.” (our emphasis). The lead author being senior economist with the World Bank this is not just some extremist environmentalists’ warning.

Even during flooding, there are significant risks, as demonstrated here from a flood:


Where an area is at risk of flooding, whether due to seasonal rain patters, changes in land and surface use or other reasons, there are matters that can be done beforehand to limit risks and impacts. As the UK’s RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) states: “Flooding needs to be looked at more holistically with greater investment into infrastructure, and more consideration given to maintenance budgets.

Hazard mitigation:

The UK Royal Society expects more flooding, so it suggests “more international and national funds need to be directed towards disaster relief in preparation.” Items such as FloodSax (“FloodSax® are transformed from being as light as a pillowcase to as tough and heavy as sandbags within minutes. You can fit 20 FloodSax® into a cardboard box so they can be ready for action anytime, any place, anywhere.”) could be pre-stocked to be ready for response.

Disaster response:

Having a contextualised flood disaster response plan to put into action can protect assets, especially communal assets such as schools and health centres.

In August 2015 OC is supporting some of its clients respond to the flooding in Myanmar.

This page will focus on OC contributions/ options to managing flood-related disasters: Flood prevention training/ capacity building (DRR, flood hazard factsheet for aidworkers), flood response supplies (like FloodSax) …


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