EGU23-14503, updated on 02 May 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Flood mortality and political changes on the Spanish Mediterranean coast of the Iberian peninsula (1950-2022).

Ester García Fernández1, Salvador Gil-Guirado1, Alfredo Pérez-Morales1, Eloisa Raluy-López2, Leandro Segado-Moreno2, Francisco Sánchez-Jiménez2, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero2, and Juan Pedro Montávez2
Ester García Fernández et al.
  • 1University de Murcia, Department of Geography, Murcia, Spain (
  • 2University de Murcia, Department of Physics, Murcia, Spain

The global climate system undergoes climatic oscillations due to natural factors. However, there are scientific evidences proving that, currently, human activity appears as the main accelerating factor of this process of change (Cuartas & Méndez, 2016). There is sufficient evidence linking the effects of climate change with the increase of premature deaths and diseases worldwide. More alarming are the forecasts of an increase in these negative impacts on human health, especially threatened by extreme weather events, which are also expected to increase in frequency and intensity (Pörtner et al., 2022). Another additional problem arises when verifying the relationship between social conflicts and extreme weather events (Burke, Hsiang & Miguel, 2015). The Spanish Mediterranean coast is an area highly exposed to flood risk as a consequence of the combination of its natural and social conditions. For this reason, the Mediterranean society has suffered, and continues to suffer, enormous material and human losses during heavy rain events. Therefore, it is really important to analyses the social, economic and demographic elements that explain the space-time differences of mortality according to floods, as well as the sociopolitical impact that these events have been able to cause. On this matter, the use of primary media sources emerges as a fundamental search engine for analyzing the social factors underlying flooding processes (Gil-Guirado et al., 2019). Their main strength is the great capacity of these sources to directly associate information on a flood with the socio-demographic profile of the victims.

This work, thanks to newspaper sources, reconstructs the socio-demographic profile of flood victims in the municipalities of the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula between 1950-2022. With the resulting database, a statistical and cartographic analysis has been carried out, highlighting the spatio-temporal changes produced. Analysis of the data shows a high figure of flood casualties in the study area (1.368 victims). Among the main findings were that, despite of the fact that the number of victims presents a negative trend, the number of flood events resulting in casualties is increasing. Regarding the socio-demographic profiles of higher vulnerability, a new temporal variability consistent with the economic changes that have occurred in the study area has been detected. A worrying increase in mortality has been detected among two distinct population groups: tourists and the elderly. However, in the opposite way, it is observing a negative trend in infant mortality. Additionally, we carry out a Superposed Epoch Analysis (SEA) to detect possible correlation between floods with fatalities and changes in municipalities in the elections following the event in question. We conclude that floods have not been a factor of political change in the study area, except in the case of catastrophic events close to an electoral process.

How to cite: García Fernández, E., Gil-Guirado, S., Pérez-Morales, A., Raluy-López, E., Segado-Moreno, L., Sánchez-Jiménez, F., Jiménez-Guerrero, P., and Montávez, J. P.: Flood mortality and political changes on the Spanish Mediterranean coast of the Iberian peninsula (1950-2022)., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-14503,, 2023.