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Flood impact on Mainland Southeast Asia between 1985 and 2018 — The role of tropical cyclones

Journal article
Authors Aifang Chen
Markus Giese
Deliang Chen
Published in Journal of Flood Risk Management
ISSN 1753-318X
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords floods, Mainland Southeast Asia, mortality, tropical cyclone
Subject categories Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources, Climate Research


Floods are disastrous natural hazards accused of human live losses. As a flood‐prone area, Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA) has often been hit by floods, resulting in the highest fatality in the world. Despite the destructive flood impacts, how has flood occurrence changed over the past decades, and to what extent did floods affect the MSEA are not yet clear. Using the Dartmouth Flood Observatory large flood data archive, we aim to assess the trend of flood occurrence in the MSEA in 1985–2018, and quantify the associated impacts on humans. Particularly, the contribution of tropical cyclone (TC) landfall induced floods (TCFloods) is quantified, because of the frequent TC landfalls. Results show that (a) occurrence and maximum magnitude of floods by all causes (ALLFloods) significantly increased (p < .01), but not for TCFloods; (b) On average, TCFloods accounted for 24.6% occurrence of ALLFloods; (c) TCFloods caused higher mortality and displacement rate than ALLFloods did. As low flood protection standards in Cambodia and Myanmar is considered a reason for high flood‐induced mortalities, building higher flood protection standards should be taken as a priority for mitigating potential flood impacts. With quantifying flood occurrence and impacts, this study offers scientific understandings for better flood risk management.

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