Catastrophic floods cause human tragedy, endanger lives and bring heavy economic losses.
In addition to economic and social damage, floods can have severe environmental consequences, for example when installations holding large quantities of toxic chemicals are inundated. The coming decades are likely to see a higher flood risk in Europe and greater economic damage.
During the last five years Europe has suffered over 100 major damaging floods, including the catastrophic floods along the Danube and Elbe rivers in summer 2002, in northern Caucasus in July and August 2002, in the Alps in summer 2005 and along the Danube in spring 2006. Since 2000, floods in Europe have caused at least 700 deaths, the displacement of about half a million people and at least EUR 25 billion in insured economic losses.
Some areas have been more affected than others. Between 1998 and 2005 north-western Romania, south-eastern France, central and southern Germany, northern Italy, and eastern England experienced the highest concentration of repeated flooding.
Recurrence of flood events in Europe between 1998 and 2005
Source: EEA based on Global Active Archive of Large Flood Events, Dartmouth Flood Observatory.