Natural Hazards

, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 1083–1113 | Cite as

Quantitative methods for estimating flood fatalities: towards the introduction of loss-of-life estimation in the assessment of flood risk

  • Manuela Di Mauro
  • Karin M. De Bruijn
  • Matteo Meloni
Original Paper


Risk, including flood risk, can be defined as ‘the combination of the probability of an event and its consequences’. Assessing and managing the risk from flooding should explicitly include the estimation of impacts to people. Extensive research is currently ongoing looking at both quantitative and qualitative approaches for assessing flood impacts on people. Although there is some literature available on such approaches, examples of methodological and routinely applications of these methodologies as part of flood risk assessments are rare. This paper focuses on quantitative approaches for estimating impacts of flooding to people, notably on methods for assessing fatality numbers associated with flooding. Three methods for assessing losses of life are discussed in detail. The methods discussed here constitute the forefront of research in Canada, UK and The Netherlands. These methods provide an assessment of the physical consequences of flooding on people and can be used to introduce the impacts to people as quantitative metric for the assessment of flood risk. In this paper, the three methodologies are discussed and applied in a UK case study reproducing the 1953 East Coast flood event. This study aims to provide a comprehensive comparison on both the reliability and the applicability of the methods. We analyse possible added values on using of these methods in systematic analyses, aiming to provide guidelines for applying these methods for flood fatality risk assessment.


Flood risk Fatalities Casualties Loss of life Flood Flood damages Impact assessment Intangible impacts 



The authors would like to thank Dr Sally Priest (Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University) and Dr Christos Gouramanis (Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University) for providing their valuable comments on the research work and the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuela Di Mauro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Karin M. De Bruijn
    • 3
  • Matteo Meloni
    • 2
  1. 1.Earth Observatory of SingaporeNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.HR Wallingford LtdWallingfordUK
  3. 3.DeltaresDelftThe Netherlands

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