Mapping flood-related mortality in the mediterranean basin. Results from the MEFF v2.0 DB

Vinet F.; Bigot V.; Petrucci O.; Papagiannaki K.; Llasat M.C.; Kotroni V.; Boissier L.; Aceto L.; Grimalt M.; Llasat-Botija M.; Pasqua A.A.; Rossello J.; Kilic O.; Kahraman A.; Tramblay Y., 2019, Mapping flood-related mortality in the mediterranean basin. Results from the MEFF v2.0 DB, Water (Basel) 11 (2019). doi_10.3390/w11102196,

Recent events in Western Attica in Greece (24 deaths in November 2017), in the Balearic Islands (13 deaths in October 2018), and in southern France (15 deaths in October 2018) show that flood-related mortality remains a major concern in Mediterranean countries facing flash floods. Over the past several years, many initiatives have arisen to create databases on flood-related mortality. An international initiative started in 2011 pooling regional and national databases on flood mortality from region and/or countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The MEditerranean Flood Fatality Database (MEFF DB) brings together, in 2018, six Mediterranean regions/countries: Catalonia (Spain), Balearic Islands (Spain), Southern France, Calabria (Italy), Greece, and Turkey, and covers the period 1980-2018. MEFF DB is on progress and, every year, new data are included, but for this study, we kept only the preliminary data that were geolocated and validated on 31st of December 2018. This research introduces a new step in the analysis of flood-related mortality and follows the statistical description of the MEFF DB already published. The goals of this paper are to draw the spatial distribution of flood mortality through a geographical information system (GIS) at different spatial scales_ country, NUTS 3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. Level 3) regions, catchment areas, and grid. A fatality rate (F: number of deaths/year/million of inhabitants) is created to help this analysis. Then, we try to relate mortality to basic (human or physical) drivers such as population density, rainfall seasonality, or rainfall frequency across the Mediterranean Basin. The mapping of F shows a negative mortality gradient between the western and the eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea. The south of France appears to be the most affected region. The maps also highlight the seasonality of flood-related deaths with the same west-east gradient. It confirms that flood mortality follows the climatological seasonal patterns across the Mediterranean Basin. Flood-related fatalities mainly occur during the early fall season in the western part of the Mediterranean area, while the Easter Basin is affected later, in November or during the winter season. Eastern Turkey introduces another pattern, as mortality is more severe in summer. Mortality maps are then compared with factors that potentiallycontribute to the occurrence of flood fatalities, such as precipitation intensity (rainfall hazard), to explain geographical differences in the fatality rate. The density of a fatal event is correlated to the population density and the rainfall frequency. Conversely, the average number of deaths per event depends on other factors such as prevention or crisis management.

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