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Flood Fatalities in Europe, 1980–2018: Variability, Features, and Lessons to Learn

1
CNR-IRPI National Research Council-Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy
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CNR-IRPI National Research Council-Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection, 06128 Perugia, Italy
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University Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, 34090 Montpellier, France
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Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
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Global Change Research Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, 60300 Brno, Czech Republic
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Centro de Estudos Geográficos, Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território, Universidade de Lisboa, 1600-276 Lisbon, Portugal
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Department of Meteorological Engineering, Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Samsun University, Ondokuzmayis, Samsun 55420, Turkey
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Institute of Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 15236 Athens, Greece
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Department of Applied Physics, University of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
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Grup de Climatologia, Hidrologia, Riscs i Paisatge, Universitat Illes Balears, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1682; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081682
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 9 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Damaging Hydrogeological Events )
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Abstract

Floods are still a significant threat to people, despite of the considerable developments in forecasting, management, defensive, and rescue works. In the near future, climate and societal changes as both urbanization of flood prone areas and individual dangerous behaviors could increase flood fatalities. This paper analyzes flood mortality in eight countries using a 39-year database (1980–2018) named EUFF (EUropean Flood Fatalities), which was built using documentary sources. The narratives of fatalities were investigated and standardized in the database reporting the details of the events. The entire dataset shows a stable trend on flood fatalities, despite the existence of individual increasing (Greece, Italy, and South France) and decreasing (Turkey and Catalonia) trends. The 2466 fatalities were mainly males, aged between 30–49 years and the majority of them happened outdoor. Most often people were dragged by water/mud when travelling by motor vehicles. Some cases of hazardous behaviors, such as fording rivers, were also detected. The primary cause of death was drowning, followed by heart attack. This work contributes to understand the human–flood interaction that caused fatalities. The changes in society’s vulnerability highlighted throughout this study contribute to manage future risks, to improve people protection actions, and to reduce risk behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: flood; fatality; spatiotemporal variability; risk; vulnerability; Europe flood; fatality; spatiotemporal variability; risk; vulnerability; Europe
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Petrucci, O.; Aceto, L.; Bianchi, C.; Bigot, V.; Brázdil, R.; Pereira, S.; Kahraman, A.; Kılıç, Ö.; Kotroni, V.; Llasat, M.C.; Llasat-Botija, M.; Papagiannaki, K.; Pasqua, A.A.; Řehoř, J.; Rossello Geli, J.; Salvati, P.; Vinet, F.; Zêzere, J.L. Flood Fatalities in Europe, 1980–2018: Variability, Features, and Lessons to Learn. Water 2019, 11, 1682.

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