Recent flood disasters in the United States (2005, 2008, 2012); the Philippines (2012, 2013); and Britain (2014) illustrate how vulnerable coastal cities are to storm surge flooding. Floods caused the largest portion of insured losses among all catastrophes around the world in 2013
Articles and reports
Combining hazard, exposure and social vulnerability to provide lessons for flood risk management
Flood risk assessments provide inputs for the evaluation of flood risk management (FRM) strategies. Traditionally, such risk assessments provide estimates of loss of life and economic damage. However, the effect of policy measures aimed at reducing risk also depends on the capacity of households to adapt and respond to floods, which in turn largely depends on their social vulnerability. This study shows how a joint assessment of hazard, exposure and social vulnerability provides valuable information for the evaluation of FRM strategies.
Storm surge risk perception and resilience: A pilot study in the German North Sea coast
Resilience is defined as the capacity of a community to organise itself before, during and after a dangerous/hazardous event in order to minimise the impacts. A conceptual framework is proposed to assess the resilience of a community by understanding and integrating the institutional, legal and social capacities to cope and recover from a natural hazardous event in order to minimize the impacts in the short-term and to adapt to the risk in the long-term…
Declining vulnerability to river floods and the global benefits of adaptation
The global impacts of river floods are substantial and rising. Effective adaptation to the increasing risks requires an in-depth understanding of the physical and socioeconomic drivers of risk. Whereas the modeling of flood hazard and exposure has improved greatly, compelling evidence on spatiotemporal patterns in vulnerability of societies around the world is still lacking.
The Role of Insurance in Reducing Direct Risk - The Case of Flood Insurance
The provision of flood insurance is a patchwork, with countries showing varying degrees of penetration, coverage types, demand levels, and design structures. This article explores the current understanding of flood insurance with a specific focus on the ability of flood insurance to contribute to direct risk reduction. The starting point is a consideration of the existing provision of flood insurance, both in established insurance markets and in developing countries. A review of efforts to analyse and explain the use and design of flood insurance highlights how the understanding of supply and demand determinants is steadily growing, while clear gaps also emerge. Particularly the question of utilizing flood insurance in the context of climate change and as a lever for physical risk reduction would benefit from further empirical and theoretical analysis. The article concludes with a reflection on current efforts to reform and design flood insurance and offers some pointers for future research.
Changing mechanism of global water scarcity events: Impacts of socioeconomic changes and inter-annual hydro-climatic variability
Changes in available fresh water resources, together with changes in water use, force our society to adapt continuously to water scarcity conditions. Although several studies assess the role of long-term climate change and socioeconomic developments on global water scarcity, the impact of inter-annual climate variability is less understood and often neglected. This paper presents a global scale water scarcity assessment that accounts for both temporal changes in socioeconomic conditions and hydro-climatic variability over the period 1960–2000.
“Climate change: the necessary, the possible and the desirable”
In time with this year’s UNFCCC meeting in Lima, a group of leading scientists, under the coordination of the Earth League Secretariat based at the Climate Service Center 2.0 laid out in a joint paper the key elements of the ‘the necessary, the possible and the desirable’ in relation to climate change, stressing the profound opportunities for transformation we have before us.
Managing unnatural disaster risk from climate extremes
Truly understanding climate-related disaster risk, and the management of that risk, can inform effective action on climate adaptation and the loss and damage mechanism, the main vehicle under the UN Climate Convention for dealing with climate-related effects, including residual impacts after adaptation.
Increasing stress on disaster-risk finance due to large floods
Recent major flood disasters have shown that single extreme events can affect multiple countries simultaneously, which puts high pressure on trans-national risk reduction and risk transfer mechanisms. So far, little is known about such flood hazard interdependencies across regions and the corresponding joint risks at regional to continental scales1. Reliable information on correlated loss probabilities is crucial for developing robust insurance schemes and public adaptation funds, and for enhancing our understanding of climate change impacts.
Effectiveness of flood damage mitigation measures: Empirical evidence from French flood disasters
Recent destructive flood events and projected increases in flood risks as a result of climate change in many regions around the world demonstrate the importance of improving flood risk management. Flood-proofing of buildings is often advocated as an effective strategy for limiting damage caused by floods. However, few empirical studies have estimated the damage that can be avoided by implementing such flood damage mitigation measures. This study estimates potential damage savings and the costeffectiveness of specific flood damage mitigation measures that were implemented by households during major flood events in France. For this purpose, data about flood damage experienced and household flood preparedness were collected using a survey of 885 French households in three flood-prone regions that face different flood hazards. Four main conclusions can be drawn from this study…