EU measures to manage emergencies
Floods – the most common and costliest natural disasters – represent a significant challenge for the European Union in terms of their impact on human health, the environment, cultural heritage and the economy. These are events that have become more frequent due to climate change, with frightening numbers:
- almost 1500 flood events in Europe since 1980;
- over 4300 deaths caused by flood events;
- more than 170 billion euros in economic damage caused by flood events since 1980.
Flood Risk Area Viewer
Over 14,000 areas in Europe are at risk of flooding, according to a new tool, the Flood Risk Area Viewer, recently launched by the EU to raise awareness of flood risk, which provides a map of areas at risk of flooding, with information provided by Member States and support from the Commission and the European Environment Agency. This tool aims to provide reliable information to enable informed decisions and better preparations to manage flood risk in Europe.
“Extreme weather events are sadly becoming more frequent in the EU and around the world, so we need to prepare and adapt better,” said European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius. “To effectively mitigate the climate risks we are facing, we need reliable information. Our new tools will help decision makers and professionals factor flood risk into their decisions.”
This useful and easy-to-use awareness tool is a result of the obligations under the EU Floods Directive which sets out measures in the flood risk management process. The viewer shows areas of potential significant flood risk, along with additional information and web links. It provides a single gateway for preliminary flood risk assessments of all Member States, risk maps and flood risks and flood risk management plans in the national language.
EU measures on floods
It is predicted that the coming decades will likely see an increase in the risk of flooding in Europe and greater economic damage. The publication of the Flood Risk Area Viewer joins other measures introduced by the EU to ensure close cooperation in the area of water policy.
The Floods Directive (Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks) is a key tool in tackling the problem of flooding in the EU. Under this directive, all EU countries are required to assess flood risk areas, map flood extents, as well as property and humans at risk, and take appropriate and coordinated measures to reduce the risk of floods.
Creation of flood hazard and risk maps
EU Member States are required to create and update flood hazard maps and flood risk maps. These maps represent an important basis for the development of flood risk management plans and allow for a better understanding of areas at risk and the potential negative consequences associated with flood scenarios.
Integrated flood risk management
Flood risk management is an integral part of integrated river basin management and is therefore closely coordinated with the Water Framework Directive. This integration between flood risk management and river basin management allows for more effective and sustainable management of water resources.
Awareness tool and risk map
The European Commission has developed an awareness tool that provides a map of areas in the EU at significant risk of flooding. This tool offers further information and web links, facilitating preliminary flood risk assessment by Member States and professionals involved in risk management. This tool was created in accordance with the obligations under the EU Floods Directive.
The main objective of these measures is to reduce and manage flood-related risks to protect human health, the environment, cultural heritage and the economy. With ongoing climate change, these initiatives are crucial to address the increasing frequency and intensity of floods in Europe and to better prepare communities to deal with such extreme weather events.