Flooding: the health consequences
More and more people around the world are affected, perhaps because of climate change, say Lucy Dennison and Mark Keim
“This is devastating. Yesterday I had to leave my house as the water rose 1.5 metres in less than 12 hours. People are shocked, scared. Uncertainty is the key word for everybody. At the moment it is raining, and I can't really describe my feelings, to know it may cause the level of the water to rise more … This is out of our hands.”1
The number of people affected by flooding is increasing globally. In 2007 England had the worst inland flooding for 60 years, leading to an independent inquiry.2 Flooding is the most common type of disaster worldwide.3 Trends in climate change have seen an increase in sea levels and an increase in rainfall in many areas of the world,4 which may help explain the increase in flooding.
So, what are the health risks associated with flooding? As increasing numbers of people are affected, doctors need to be