IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Human-flood interactions: The role of economic inequality

Sara Lindersson1, Elena Raffetti1,2, Luigia Brandimarte3, Johanna Mård1, Maria Rusca1,4, and Giuliano Di Baldassarre1
Sara Lindersson et al.
  • 1Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Economic inequality is a reality in many countries and is also increasing in many contexts. The consequences of economic inequality are multifaceted and, for instance, relate to issues of justice, access to welfare, long-term health and human well-being. Economic inequality within countries can also affect how susceptible populations are to flood hazards, both directly and indirectly. A large body of research has shown that the pre-disaster economic distribution within a society can affect the disaster outcomes. One example is that unequal societies tend to exhibit physical marginalization, and if these areas are burdened with malfunctioning infrastructure it affects the ability to withstand an extreme weather event.

In this work, we highlight the role of economic inequality in explaining flood losses worldwide. We conduct a statistical cross-country comparison and show that the distribution of income matters for reducing human flood losses, and that this applies at all levels of economic development. We then discuss how our results stand in contrast to some of the most common disaster reduction recommendations from flood management studies, particularly from studies conducted at large scales.

How to cite: Lindersson, S., Raffetti, E., Brandimarte, L., Mård, J., Rusca, M., and Di Baldassarre, G.: Human-flood interactions: The role of economic inequality, IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-206, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-206, 2022.