What Is the Impact of a Flood on People?

Floods often have devastating impacts on people, ranging from loss of property to loss of life, but they also bring nutrients to flood plains and enrich the soil, explains the Natural Resources Defense Council. Many of the impacts that flooding has on people are, in fact, caused by people through development and construction.

Floods are some of the most destructive natural disasters people must endure. Often lasting longer and impacting larger areas, floods tend to be much more costly than other events, both in financial terms and lost lives. Flooding destroys homes and property, cripples transportation and leaves a host of potential diseases in its wake. Rapidly moving flood waters also scour away banks and shorelines, then deposit huge amounts of the debris onto surrounding areas. The clean-up process and costs after a flood are typically as much, if not more, than the costs of the physical damages alone. The economic fallout from even a minor flood often lasts several years.

Flooding is natural for all bodies of water, however, modern expansion alters the landscape and encroaches on areas that were once natural watersheds. This, along with the fact that modern construction does not absorb run-off, results in more frequent, and more costly, flooding. While levees and modern engineering help reduce the effects of flooding, there is no way to entirely prevent floods.