Flashflood-related mortality in southern France: first results from a new database

  • Vinet F
  • Boissier L
  • Saint-Martin C
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Abstract

© 2016 The Authors, published by EDP Sciences. Over the last 25 years, flash floods in the South of France have killed almost 250 people. The protection of prone populations is a priority for the French government. It is also a goal of the 2007 European flood directive. However, no accurate database exists gathering the fatalities due to floods in France. Fatalities are supposed to be rare and hazardous, mainly due to individual behaviour. A Ph. D. work has initiated the building of a database gathering a detailed analysis of the circumstances of death and the profiles of the deceased (age, gender...). The study area covers the French Mediterranean departments prone to flash floods over the period 1988-2015. This presentation details the main features of the sample, 244 fatalities collected through newspapers completed with field surveys near police services and municipalities. The sample is broken down between huge events that account for two thirds of the fatalities and "small" events (34 % of the fatalities). Deaths at home account for 35 % of the total number of fatalities, mainly during huge events. 30 % of fatalities are related to vehicles. The last part of the work explains the relations between fatalities and prevention and how better knowledge of flood-related deaths can help to improve flood prevention. The given example shows the relationship between flood forecasting and fatalities. Half of the deaths took place in a small watershed ( < 150 km 2 ). It emphasizes the need for the dissemination of a complementary system of flash flood forecast based on forecasted rainfall depth and adapted to small watersheds.

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Vinet, F., Boissier, L., & Saint-Martin, C. (2016). Flashflood-related mortality in southern France: first results from a new database. E3S Web of Conferences, 7, 06001. https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20160706001

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