The Human Health Consequences of Flooding in Europe: a Review [chapter]

S. Hajat, K. L. Ebi, R. S. Kovats, B. Menne, S. Edwards, A. Haines
Extreme Weather Events and Public Health Responses  
Floods are the most common natural disaster in Europe. Th e adverse human health consequences of fl ooding are complex and far-reaching: these include drowning, injuries, and an increased incidence of common mental disorders. Anxiety and depression may last for months and possibly even years aft er the fl ood event and so the true health burden is rarely appreciated. Eff ects of fl oods on communicable diseases appear relatively infrequent in Europe. Th e vulnerability of a person or group is
more » ... fi ned in terms of their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard. Determining vulnerability is a major challenge. Vulnerable groups within communities to the health impacts of fl ooding are the elderly, disabled, children, women, ethnic minorities, and those on low incomes. Th ere is a need for more good-quality epidemiological data before vulnerability indices can be developed. With better information, the emphasis in disaster management could shift from post-disaster improvisation to pre-disaster planning. A comprehensive, risk-based emergency management program of preparedness, response, and recovery has the potential to reduce the adverse health eff ects of fl oods, but there is currently inadequate evidence of the eff ectiveness of public health interventions
doi:10.1007/3-540-28862-7_18 fatcat:mpg23b3mnvesxgxkf35tsfpdby