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Challenges
As urban areas expand, trillions of dollars worth
of infrastructure, industrial plants, office buildings
and homes will be increasingly at risk of flooding.
Latin
America
and Caribbean
Annual economic damage
in billion USD
Annually exposed population,
in millions
North Africa,
the Middle East
and Central Asia
Developed
countries
South Asia
and East
Asia Pacific
Sub-
Saharan
Africa
2010
2050
2050 contribution due to climate change
Between now and
2050, the focal point
of economic damage
will shift to Asia.
9
1.4
2.0
35
8
2.1
2.9
30
9
1.4
1.7
93
19
28.1
43.3
215
4
5.7
15.1
33
Most of the people at risk live in
developing countries, especially
in the South Asia and East Asia
Pacific regions. Their numbers
will increase.
Source: Deltares, IVM
1,450 million
people at risk in
developing countries
200 million people at
risk in developed
countries
2050
Source: PBL
Risks for people are unequally distributed
While the developed countries will face
most of the economic damage, the majority
of people at risk live in developing countries.
2010 2050
Millions of people
are living in flood-
prone areas
Deltas
Coastal
zones
Rivers
Source: PBL
1,095
1,650
People living in
flood-prone areas
2010–2050: The
Business-as-usual
scenario projects a
30% increase in the
number of people
potentially exposed
to flooding and a
threefold increase in
economic damage.
Many more people
are potentially
exposed to river
flooding than to
coastal flooding.
Soil
subsidence
Slums in
risky locations
Growing
economy
Extreme
precipitation
Disappearing
mangroves Sea level
rise
River
flooding
Storm surges and
coastal flooding
Flood risk increases mainly due to population
and economic development
Overall, more extreme precipitation will increase
the risk of river flooding. Without additional
flood protection and following the projected
strong increase in economic value in flood-prone
areas, the focal point of damage will shift to Asia.
In 2010, around 1 billion people around the world were living in flood-
prone areas, potentially exposed to either river or coastal flooding.
This number is projected to increase to over 1.6 billion by 2050.
STRONG INCREASE IN
POTENTIAL FLOOD RISKS
THE GEOGRAPHY OF FUTURE WATER CHALLENGES 2 MAPPING HOTSPOTS 4746
THE GEOGRAPHY OF
FUTURE WATER CHALLENGES

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