Natural Hazards

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 43–64

Estimating Injury and Loss of Life in Floods: A Deterministic Framework

  • Edmund Penning-Rowsell
  • Peter Floyd
  • David Ramsbottom
  • Suresh Surendran

DOI: 10.1007/s11069-004-4538-7

Cite this article as:
Penning-Rowsell, E., Floyd, P., Ramsbottom, D. et al. Nat Hazards (2005) 36: 43. doi:10.1007/s11069-004-4538-7


This paper presents an outline methodology and an operational framework for assessing and mapping the risk of death or serious harm to people from flooding, covering death and physical injuries as a direct and immediate consequence of deep and/or fast flowing floodwaters (usually by drowning), and deaths and physical injuries associated with the flood event (but occurring in the immediate aftermath). The main factors that affect death or injury to people during floods include flow velocity, flow depth, and the degree to which people are exposed to the flood. The exposure potential is related to such factors as the “suddenness” of flooding (and amount of flood warning), the extent of the floodplain, people’s location on the floodplain, and the character of their accommodation. In addition, risks to people are affected by social factors including their vulnerability and behaviour. A methodology is described for estimating the likely annual number of deaths/injuries. This is based on defining zones of different flood hazard and, for each zone, estimating the total number of people located there, the proportion that are likely to be exposed to a flood, and the proportion of those exposed who are likely to be injured or killed during a flood event. The results for each zone are combined to give an overall risk for each flood cell and/or community. The objective of the research reported here is to develop a method which could be applied using a map-based approach in which flood risks to people are calculated and displayed spatially for selected areas or communities. The information needed for each part of the process is described in the paper, and the further research to provide the required information is identified.


floods loss of life serious injury deterministic model case examples 

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmund Penning-Rowsell
    • 1
  • Peter Floyd
    • 2
  • David Ramsbottom
    • 3
  • Suresh Surendran
    • 4
  1. 1.Flood Hazard Research CentreMiddlesex UniversityUK
  2. 2.Risk and Policy Analysts LtdNorwichUK
  3. 3.HR Wallingford LtdOxfordUK
  4. 4.Environment AgencyReadingUK

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