Why poor people are more likely to suffer from floods

Alex Johnson

Map1.preview 283x300 Why poor people are more likely to suffer from floodsA fascinating post by Gordon Hector at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation blog analyses who is at the most risk of flooding and concludes that “vulnerability is about your social context, not just your physical environment”. As you would expect, the JRF has looked closely at the links between climate change and social justice. Obviously some areas are simply more liable to flood than others, but their work also looks at areas such as availability of insurance and access to replacement accommodation. “There’s a strong relationship between poverty and vulnerability,” argues Hector. It’s a fascinating read with links through to more detailed reports and with explanatory maps.

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  • plumplum

    All well and good, but if you live on a FLOOD PLAIN or in a FLOOD PRONE area you are more likely to end up under water, whatever your social strata. Now, the lowly strata may chose to live in such cheap areas of course, whilst the rich live on top of hills etc.

  • martin65536

    Also due to the type and density of housing. A row of terraced houses with back yards isn’t going to soak up any water compared to a swanky row of detached houses with larger gardens.

  • ChestnutSlug

    I think the ‘trick’ is in the article’s title – poorer people may or may not be more likely to experience floods, but they will SUFFER more if they e.g. don’t have access to temporary accommodation.

  • hughonabike

    Or maybe floods affect poor people more ‘cos they don’t have any money!

  • s m

    how the hell did this reporter get a job…..!!!!!!!!!!

  • Margaret Nelson

    Worldwide, it’s mainly poor people who suffer from flooding.

  • AliBair

    This is an appalling piece of research (and an astonishingly uncritical reaction from Alex Johnson). The map for England for example is based on an index that uses 20 different variables, only one of which is associated with risk of flooding. The other 19 are all indicators of social deprivation, such as ‘fraction of people born abroad’, ‘crime score’ and ‘% people who don’t own a car’. The four variable component that includes the single measure of flood risk explains only 11% of the regional variation you see in the picture. All the rest of the variation in colours comes from the deprivation scores. So it’s a map of poverty essentially.

  • mypipsranout

    Kudos to Johnson and the Indie for bringing attention to the research. You got to love the JRF, no wonder Incredibly Dangerous Sociopath hates them, pesky things defining poverty. It maybe obvious that poorer people will suffer more than those with wealth but you will still always get arguments from wealthy right-wingers saying things like ‘well I was flooded and just got on with it’ if poorer people can’t recover from it and need help because they have fewer resources at hand, including state resources, as wealthier areas are much more likely to have better maintained communal spaces and access to better and a wider range of public services. It reminds me of what my dear old Grandma used to say, fat sorrow is better than lean.

  • Gwyn Kemp-Philp

    It’s quite simple really. Poor people are allowed to live where rich people don’t want to.

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