A Japanese-led scientific report titled Global Flood Risk Under Climate Change, found that climate change would likely magnify floods and increase their damage to nearby populations especially towards the end of the 21st century. The report, found that severe floods would happen more frequent on most of the 29 rivers reviewed in detail in the study which included the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Nile, the Niger, the Amazon and the Parana. The Rhine in Europe is also expected to see an increase in flooding frequency.
The study suggests that overall, rising temperatures will increase the risk of floods. Warmer air caused by an increase in global temperatures can potentially absorb more moisture and therefore cause more rain. Change in wind and other factors could leave some areas getting wetter, while others get drier. Such dry areas, according to the study could be the Mississippi river in the US and the Euphrates in the Middle East which are expected to see a decrease in risk of flooding.
Proof of what the study predicts holds true today. Over the last two weeks, Central and Eastern Europe have experienced devastating floods causing mass evacuations in Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and at least 21 deaths. Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency, expected the total cost of the flood damage to be around €12bn in Germany alone.
According to Preventionweb, a website that monitors disasters around the globe, over the last three decades, floods have claimed around 200,000 lives and caused around $400 billion in economic damage. They have also cost an estimated three billion people their homes, farms, businesses and livestock.
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