5. What are the consequences of floods?

The consequences of floods can be counted in:

  • Human casualties.
  • Social and economic losses.
  • Areas affected.
  • Environmental contamination.
  • Destruction of cultural heritage. 

Floods typically have primary and secondary consequences.

– The primary consequences include:

            – Damage or partial/total physical destruction of bridges, vehicles, buildings, houses, communication systems, sewer systems, road networks and other key infrastructure;
            – Casualties: drowning of people or livestock, as well as resulting epidemics and diseases.

– Secondary consequences include:

            – Water supply made more difficult because of water contamination, resulting in shortage of clean drinking water.;
            – Proliferation of diseases: unhygienic living conditions and diseases spreading through water;
            – Food supply made more difficult, resulting in food shortages. Entire crops may be destroyed;
            – Vegetation: many species may die;
            – The consequences of floods are long term;
            – Economic hardship caused by temporary declines in tourism, increases in the price of food and recovery costs.

– Benefits of floods: While floods can have many destructive effects, they can also make the soil more fertile, enriching it with multiple nutritive substances. For instance, since the fifth century. B.C., the importance of river  Nile was known as it played a fundamental economic role for the Egyptian people, making arid and desert lands fertile. Every year, in summer the river flooded the neighboring territories; the waters retreated into the riverbed in autumn, leaving an extremely fertile layer of mud (silt) on the fields.

Fig. 5. - Damage due to the flash flood which occurred on 9th august 2020 at the village of Politika, on the Greek Island of Evia (Agence France Presse)