Countries Most Prone To Urban Flooding

The Zuid Beveland town of Netherlands damaged by the North Sea flood of 1953.
The Zuid Beveland town of Netherlands damaged by the North Sea flood of 1953.

Flooding is the overflow of water either from heavy rains or rivers that have broken their banks and submerged dry land. Simply put, flooding is where water covers the surface of a dry land. Flooding is mainly common in areas with low elevation and poor drainage system. Flooding can lead to loss of life and destruction of properties. The International Disaster Database estimated the people displaced by flood in 2010 were 178 million while a total loss exceeded $45 billion. The cost of recovery from floods is also considerably high. According to the IDD, urban areas of elevations of less than 10m above sea level are more prone to flooding, thus low-lying cities are at risk of flooding compared to areas above 10m. Some of the countries that are prone to urban flooding include:


Two-thirds of Netherlands is prone to flooding. Most of the flood-prone towns in Netherlands are built on alluvial plains.Most of the population resides in the urban centers of Netherlands making them prone to the effects of floods. About 23% of Netherlands is in low lying area with a total 49% of Dutch population living in those low-lying urban centers. Netherlands has experienced a series of floods some of which include North Sea floods, St. Elizabeth’s floods, and Amsterdam floods. Since the vast flood of 1953, Netherlands has put up measures that have seen a reduction of flooding in the area. Some of the actions include Delta Works program, green roofs, and dikes.


Monaco is located on the French Riviera with an area of 2.02 square km and a population of 37,800 people. The highest point in Monaco is at the Patio Palace residential building at 164m above sea level while the lowest point is the Mediterranean Sea. Approximately 22% of Monaco city is on low elevation under 5m above sea level with 22% of the population residing in such low areas like Larvotto and Port Hercules. These areas are prone to floods. Monaco has dug dikes to prevent flood havocs. The residents have also been moved to safe and higher areas that are less prone to floods.


Bahrain continues to suffer flash floods that regularly destroy houses and sometimes lead to loss of life. Major towns such as Manama, Hamada Town, and Isa Town are some of the most affected towns in Bahrain. The floods in those areas have been attributed to their low elevation. 24% of the Bahrain population lives in such low-lying area with 21% of the total area of Bahrain under 5m above sea level. The authorities in Bahrain have proposed several measures to reduce the effects of flooding. Some of the measures include moving people to higher grounds and building of dikes.

Measures To Reduce Flooding Incidents

Other areas that are at risk of flooding because of low elevation include Belgium, Hong Kong, Macao, Barbuda, Gibraltar, and Cayman Island. These countries have most of their population living in these low-lying areas, therefore, exposing them to dangers of flooding. Some of the countries have taken adequate measures like building dikes and sea walls to reduce the effects of the flood while attempt to educate their citizens on safety precautionsa are also made.

Countries Most Prone To Urban Flooding

RankCountry% of Total Area Covered by Low-Lying Cities; % of Total National Population Living Therein
1SurinameNA; 52%
2Netherlands23%; 49%
3Monaco22%; 22%
4Bahrain21%; 24%
5Macao18%; 23%
6Gibraltar14%; 14%
7Cayman Islands9%; 10%
8Antigua and Barbuda6%; 9%
9Hong Kong6%; 6%
10Belgium5%; 10%

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