This document is the result of a collaboration between the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the United Kingdom HPA to assess the health effects of floods as well as to identify measures to prevent or minimize their health effects. It is intended to provide decision-makers with evidence for action before, during and after flooding events. The report: (i) introduces key concepts and data on flooding; (ii) addresses the health effects associated with flooding and the effects of flooding on health services; (iii) addresses primary, secondary and tertiary prevention for managing flood risk with a range of interventions and measures to reduce the impact on human health; (iv) presents the discussion and conclusions from the questionnaire survey and (v) further developments.
The report is based on a review of the scientific evidence on the health effects of floods and preventive activities and on an analysis of the responses to a questionnaire sent to WHO European Member States in 2009–2010. The goal was to review data and information on flooding in order to understand its health effects and the measures used in Member States. The main questions considered: (i) the frequencies, effects and probable future development of floods; (ii) the health effects of floods; (iii) the prevention, preparedness and response measures available; and (iv) the knowledge gaps.