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Middle East & Africa


Floods Risk is Mounting, Water Stressed Countries are Not Exempt

Investing in Flood Protection Infrastructure Can Save Lives, Create Jobs and Help Economies.

Oct 10, 2022 / 3 Min
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

By Samantha Kuzma and Tianyi Luo, World Resources Institute.


Analysis from WRI’s Aqueduct Floods finds that the number of people affected by floods will double worldwide by 2030. According to data from the tool, which analyzes flood risks and solutions around the world, the number of people affected by riverine floods will rise from 65 million in 2010 to 132 million in 2030, and the number impacted by coastal flooding will increase from 7 million to 15 million. 


Flood risk is increasing dramatically due to heavier rains and storms fueled by climate change, socioeconomic factors such as population growth and increased development near coasts and rivers, and land subsidence driven by overdrawing groundwater.


This is not only a threat to human lives, but to economies: The amount of urban property damaged by riverine floods will increase threefold — from $157 billion to $535 billion annually. Urban property damaged by coastal storm surge and sea level rise will increased tenfold — from $17 billion to $177 billion annually.




Growing populations and booming urban development in flood plains will increase both riverine and coastal flood risk in many countries. Even extremely water-stressed nations like Saudi Arabia will suffer. By 2030, 614,000 people in the country are expected to be affected by riverine floods annually — a tenfold increase from today’s risk — thanks largely to new development near rivers. Damage to urban property will increase by $1.6 billion annually.


Investing in Flood Protection Infrastructure Can Save Lives, Create Jobs and Help Economies. Investing in protective measures like levees and dikes is not only important for safeguarding millions of people and their homes and businesses, but also to help grow economies. Aqueduct Floods allows decision-makers to assess the costs and benefits of adapting to riverine flood risk with flood protection infrastructure.


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