Major floods have become almost twice as frequent as they were 30 years ago, according to figures from the Centre for Research on the Epidemoiology of Disasters (CRED).
During the 1990s, an average of 87 serious floods were recorded around the world each year, a number that has climbed to 165 a year since the turn of the century, impacting more than 140 million people annually. Last year 169 incidents were registered.
In the same timeframe, the number of droughts has risen by 30 percent, landslides are up 23 percent, storms have increased by 11% and fires by 14%, according to CRED data.
"Flooding is increasing everywhere and causing large-scale losses. It's by far the biggest threat for for the world including Europe," Debarati Guha-Sapir, director of CRED and a professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. She adds that floods are nevertheless one of the natural disasters that are simplest to avoid.
Researchers consider a major flooding event to be one that affects at least 100 people or kills at least 10 or results in a declaration of emergency or call for international assistance.
While floods are not the most deadly climate-linked disaster, they impact the most people, forcing them to relocate and destroying infrastucture and food supplies.
Overall the number of people killed by disasters linked to the weather ha fallen to an average of 5,500 in the past seventeen years compared with 9,550 in the prior decade. However the cost of reparing the damage has increased