Document / Publication
Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level (APELL)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Environment Programme - Headquarters (UNEP)
Every year, some 195 million people in more than 90 countries are exposed to catastrophic flooding. Of all natural disasters, floods affect the greatest number of people worldwide and have the greatest potential to cause damage. When they occur in less developed countries, floods can result in thousands of deaths and lead to epidemics, as well as effectively wiping out decades of investment in infrastructure and seriously crippling economic prosperity.
High mortality from floods occurs in countries with poor, sparsely populated rural areas where disaster preparedness and early warning are almost non-existent, and where health coverage is weak and care not easily accessible. People in these areas have less possibilities for evacuation from flood prone areas and are more vulnerable to flood related diseases which can prove fatal.
Disaster inevitably leads to crisis and, once a crisis situation is established, it is the degree to which people are prepared for disaster that determines how vulnerable or resilient their community will be. Experience throughout the world has shown, time and again, that it is local people who are best placed to prepare for and respond to disasters, including floods.