Paris : Flood-prone people up nearly 25% since 2000. The number of people exposed to floods worldwide has surged almost a quarter over the last two decades, according to satellite-based data that shows an additional 86 million now live within flood prone regions.

Flooding is by far the most common of extreme weather events made from frequent and potent by rainfall patterns supercharged by climate change.

Deadly inundations, such as recently in India, China, Germany and Belgium, inflict billions of dollars worth damage, often disproportionately affecting poorer sectors of the society.

Most flood maps rely on modeling based on ground level observations such as rainfall and elevation, but they can often entirely miss regions that are historically not flood-prone.

To fill those gaps, a team of US-based researchers examined satellite data from twice-daily imaging of more than 900 individual flood events in 169 countries since 2000.

They used data to create the Global Flood Database, which provides open source information on the death toll, displacement and rainfall levels linked to each of the 913 floods.

Writing in the Journal Nature, the researchers found that up to 86 million people, driven by economic necessity, moved into known flood regions between 2000 - 2015 - a 24 percent increase.

A total of 2.23 million square kilometers [ 860,000 square miles ] - more than the entire area of Greenland - were flooded between 2000 and 2018, affecting up to 290 million people.

And it's only going to get worse. [AFP]


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