WHEN?

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By Anne T. Sulton, Ph.D., J.D.
JA Senior International Correspondent

During the past couple weeks, I have written about coastal flooding caused by sea level rise. The recent tragedy occurring in middle Tennessee reminds us to expect also unprecedented levels of death and infrastructure destruction caused by flash flooding in nations’ interiors.

According to Flood Defenders, flooding events “are becoming more severe, more intense, and more damaging” in the USA. It claims 99% of counties throughout the USA are impacted by flooding.

Flood Defenders recommends several steps be taken immediately, including the USA’s Federal Emergency Management Agency updating its flood maps. Flood Defenders claims that 40% of the USA has never been flood mapped, and of those parts mapped 75% are out of date. Apparently, there are more flood plains in the USA than previously known.

Devastating flash flooding events are increasing worldwide. Among the other nations reporting during the past year massive unanticipated flooding events are Belgium, Benin, China, Congo, England, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Turkey, and Venezuela.

Even nations with large deserts are reporting major flooding events. Dramatic video footage of camels walking through rivers of flood water in the sand frequently is posted on various internet-based platforms.

Every day, nations from every corner of the world are reporting unprecedented flooding events. Each major event takes lives, disrupts essential services, and damages homes and businesses.

The growing consensus globally is that flooding is a sign of climate change. For example, when explaining the recent massive flooding event in Western Europe, the World Weather Attribution project issued this dire warning: “All available evidence taken together, including physical understanding, observations over a larger region, and different regional climate models give high confidence that human-induced climate change has increased the likelihood and intensity of such an event to occur and these changes will continue in a rapidly warming climate.”

When – by what date certain – will we adequately prepare for flooding events?