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Floods

  • By: Patric R. Spence & Jacqueline S. Smith
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

A flood is a temporary rise and overflow of water that escapes its normal boundaries and submerges land that is normally dry. Floodwaters may originate from any body of water, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, or may develop from rainwater. Floods occur all over the world, especially in coastal areas and in regions near large rivers, and may be caused by severe storms, tidal phenomena, or excessive runoff from sustained precipitation or snowmelt. The consequences of a flood on the inhabitants of a flooded area can be devastating. Floods may cause deaths directly, through drowning or, more commonly, through indirect consequences, such as disease and malnutrition. Floods create unsanitary conditions that promote the spread of waterborne disease, and food quickly becomes scarce in ...

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