18.06.2022, Bangladesch, Sylhet: Menschen waten durch eine überschwemmte Straße. Soldaten aus Bangladesch wurden am 17.06.22 eingesetzt, um die Region Sylhet, etwa 240 km nordöstlich der Hauptstadt Dhaka, bei der Bewältigung der sich verschlimmernden Hochwasserlage zu unterstützen. Foto: -/XinHua/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

According to a study, almost a quarter of the world’s population is threatened by severe flooding. People in poor countries are particularly affected, according to the study, which was published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The authors evaluated data on the risk of flooding from rainfall, rivers and seas and compared them with World Bank data on the distribution of world population and poverty.

It came out that around 1.81 billion people, or 23 percent of the world’s population, are directly exposed to floods of more than 15 centimeters, which occur on average every hundred years. Of them, 780 million live on less than $5.50 a day. With 1.24 billion people, the majority of those affected live in East and South Asia, particularly in the most populous countries, China and India.

According to the study, almost 90 percent of those affected live in low- and middle-income countries. “Low-income countries are disproportionately exposed to the risks of flooding,” said Jun Rentschler, a World Bank expert involved in the study. These states are “more susceptible to the long-term consequences of the disaster”. Climate change and poor urban planning increased these risks in the coming years.

The study is “the first global evaluation” of the relationship between flood risk and poverty, wrote Thomas McDermott of the National University of Ireland in Galway in a commentary on the study, also published in Nature Communications.

China was hit by unusually severe flooding this month. More than half a million people had to evacuate their homes as a precaution. As a result of particularly heavy monsoon rains, more than 100 people lost their lives in Bangladesh, and more than seven million people were affected by the consequences.