Flood Threat to Double Worldwide

The number of people threatened by floods is set to double from 1 billion to 2 billion within a few generations if substantial preventative measures are not taken, according to a new report by researchers at Tokyo-based United Nations University. The report — released to coincide with the opening of the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security in Germany — blames the growing threat on human activity. Global warming has led to rising sea levels, deforestation has removed many of the earth’s natural flood breaks, and population growth has pushed more and more people onto fertile flood plains and into danger. As with so many forms of nastiness, floods affect the poor in developing countries disproportionately — in this case, people in Asia and small island states. Janos Bogardi, founding director of UNU-EHS, called for a shift “from reaction and charity to anticipation and pre-emption.”