Invest more to reduce threat of flash floods

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Aerial View of Floods in Bangkok, Thailand. UN File Photo/Mark Garten

Urban areas around the world are being encouraged to invest more to reduce risks from flash floods.

The call comes from Margareta Wahlström, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Recent flash floods have claimed hundreds of lives in Guatemala, the south of France and the southern United States.

Dianne Penn reports.

Flash floods, sometimes accompanied by landslides, have become more regular in all regions of the world over the past two decades, according to Ms Wahlström.

She said they are triggered by "unusually intense rainfall" which will become more common due to climate change.

The UN Disaster Risk chief listed measures that can increase early warning, such as improvements in local weather forecasting.

Risk and hazard mapping can identify potential disaster spots and lead to investments in resilient infrastructure, better flood course management and improved drainage systems, she added.

Above all, Ms Wahlström encouraged people to become familiar with the land features in the areas where they live, work and play.

The essential role of indigenous, traditional and local knowledge in disaster risk management will be the theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction observed next Tuesday, 13 October.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 56″

 

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