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In Europe, the natural hazards that cause the highest economic losses are flooding and storms. In warmer climates that intensify the water cycle, projections show a further increase in the risk of river floods in many western European and central eastern European areas. Urban drainage flooding is also expected, particularly in western and northern Europe, and so are coastal floods. Flood risks in a city can be strongly impacted by factors outside the city boundaries, such as upstream river management
Multiple factors influence the exposure to floods, the sensitivity to them and the response capacity (table). The following maps depict some of these factors, and provide some indication of the situation (in green). They need to be interpreted as a whole, together with the other factors still requiring local or qualitative information.

Factors that tend to increase the vulnerability to flooding by rivers, sea or heavy rain fall…




High share of low-lying urban areas, potentially prone to flooding

High share of low-income households - socio-economic status

Decreasing soil sealing

High and increasing degree of soil sealing

High share of vulnerable people

Increasing the share of green urban areas

Lack of green urban areas

High share assets (commercial, residential areas) in potentially flood prone areas

Commitment to fight climate change - awarenes of and trust in the city governance

Increase of frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation

Key services like transport and energy infrastructure in potentially flood prone areas

Trust in other people

Increase of frequency and level of river floods

High population number in potentially flood prone are


Sea level rise in combination with storm surges

High share of very young population

Socio-economic status - financial resources

Geographical location (at coasts or rivers) and topography (low-lying)

High share of lonely pensioners households

 Awareness of business and citizens



Well-functioning institutional structures and processes

High soil moisture levels


Sufficient capacities in administration to act



Availability of flood defences and retention areas



Effective sewage system