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News Flood hazard for developing world's urban dwellers

One in five people living in urban areas in developing countries are within ten metres above sea level, putting them at risk from flooding and cyclone-induced storm surges that are likely to increase due to climate change.

A study to be published in the journal Environment and Urbanization next month found that populations are most vulnerable to flooding in Asia, where many people live on the flood plains of major rivers and in cyclone-prone coastal regions.

Scientists used geographical data about population density combined with maps of areas' elevation above sea level to calculate the populations within the low elevation coastal band.

Although this band accounts for only 2 per cent of the world's land area, about ten per cent of the world's population and 13 per cent of the world's urban population live in these vulnerable zones — rising to 21 per cent for developing countries. 

The study calls for action to limit the effects of climate change, to help people migrate away from risk areas and to modify urban settlements to reduce their vulnerability.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
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Source of information SciDev.Net
Keyword(s) flood, climate change
Geographical coverage International
News date 04/04/2007
Working language(s) ENGLISH