Flooding causes health problems long after waters subside

An article in New Scientist Feb 20 2014 follows evidence that the effect of flooding on our health is further reaching than we may think. Health care needs to extend to months and years later. This adds the the financial and human costs of these catastrophic environmental events that are not going to go away.

Quoting the article:

"Floods don't just wreck your house, they may also affect your long-term health.

Record heavy rains have flooded thousands of properties in southern England since December. There have been a few deaths from the storms but none from the floods.

From past events, this is to be expected. The World Health Organization reported last year that only 0.03 per cent of the 3.4 million people caught in floods in Europe in the past decade died, with the main causes being drowning, electrocution, injury, heart attack and poisoning.

But that could be just part of the story. "Only the immediate traumatic deaths from flooding are recorded," says the National Flood Emergency Framework for England. "Negative effects on well-being may persist for months or even years after a flood."

The main evidence for this comes from a study after a flood in Bristol in 1968. In the following year, death rates rose 50 per cent and hospital admissions more than doubled – but only among people who had been flooded, not unaffected neighbours. The WHO review noted similar results in studies of survivors of hurricane Katrina in the US, and the 1998 floods in Hunan, China – and not just among those most severely affected."

Reach the full article here