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A joint report from University of Leed’s School of Civil Engineering and Dutch authorities reveals that in a new study of nine coastal cities around the world, Shanghai is the most vulnerable to serious flooding. In fact, according to a new method to calculate the flood vulnerability of cities, those in Europe top the leader board for their resilience.

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Despite it being more advanced than many other cities, Shanghai is actually much more vulnerable than much poorer cities such as Dhaka in Bangladesh. Shanghai is also vulnerable to powerful storm surges and as such, the land is subsiding as sea levels rise. A large population also lives along the coast in flood-prone areas, so overall the city is poorly prepared, with little resilience to a major flood and insufficient flood shelters for victims.

The report was published in the latest edition of the journal Natural Hazards and looked at the likelihood of a city’s exposure to a major ‘once in a hundred years’ flood. Factors such as social and economic changes were also considered. Altogether, the flood index incorporates 19 components, including measures of the level of economic activity in a city, its speed of recovery, and social issues such as the number of flood shelters, the awareness of people about flood risks, and the number of disabled people in the population. Using this, the researchers were able to analyse the vulnerability to coastal flooding of nine cities built on river deltas such as Casablanca (Morocco), Calcutta (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Osaka (Japan), Shanghai (China), Manila (Philippines), Marseille (France) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

+ University of Leeds’ School of Civil Engineering

+ Natural Hazards Journal

via BBC News

Images: ariane rek and brandnliu