Spatiotemporal variations of riverine flood fatalities: 70 years global to regional perspective
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Floods are among the most devastating natural hazards worldwide. While rainfall is the primary trigger of floods, human activities and climate change can exacerbate the impacts of floods and lead to more significant economic and social consequences. In this research, fluvial flood fatalities in the 1951–2020 period have been studied, analyzing the information reported in the Emergency Database (EM‐DAT). The EM‐DAT data were classified into five categories in terms of the number of events and fatalities connected with riverine floods, considering only events that caused more than 10 fatalities. The results show that the severity of flood‐related fatalities is not equally distributed worldwide, but presents specific geographical patterns. The flood fatality coefficient, which represents the ratio between the total number of fatalities and the number of flood events, calculated for different countries, identified that the Southern, Eastern, and South‐Eastern regions of Asia have the deadliest floods in the world. The number of flood events has been increasing since 1951 and peaked in 2007, following a relative decline since then. Though, the resulting fatalities do not follow a statistically significant trend. An analysis of the number of flood events in different decades shows that the 2001–2010 decade saw the highest number of events, which corresponds to the largest precipitation anomaly in the world. The lethality of riverine floods decreased over time, from 412 per flood in 1951–1960 to 67 in the 2011–2020 decade. This declining trend is probably a consequence of a more resilient environment and better risk reduction strategies. Based on the presented data and using regression analysis, relationships between flood fatalities and the number of flood events with population density and gross domestic product are developed and discussed.