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Analysis of flash flood disaster characteristics in China from 2011 to 2015

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Flash floods are one of the most disastrous natural hazards and cause serious loss of life and economic damage every year. Flooding frequently affects many regions in China, including periodically catastrophic events. An extensive compilation of the available data has been conducted across various hydroclimatological regions to analyze the spatiotemporal characteristics of flash floods in China. This inventory includes over 782 documented events and is the first step toward establishing an atlas of extreme flash flood occurrences in China. This paper first presents the data compilation strategy, details of the database contents, and the typical examples of first-hand analysis results. The subsequent analysis indicates that the most extreme flash floods originate mainly from small catchments over complex terrains and results in dominantly small- and medium-sized flooding events in terms of scales; however, these events, abrupt and seasonally recurrent in nature, account for a large proportion of the overall flooding-related disasters, especially disproportionately affecting elderly and youth populations. Finally, this study also recommends several immediate measures could be implemented to mitigate high impacts of deadly flash floods, although it still requires long-term significant efforts to protect human life and property in a country like China.

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This work was supported by the China National Flash Flood Disaster Prevention and Control Project (126301001000150068), China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research Innovation Team Project (JZ0145B2017) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2015B28514). The authors are grateful to Manabendra Saharia for the help in translating this article. Additional thanks are given to some anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Meihong Ma or Qingrui Chang.

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He, B., Huang, X., Ma, M. et al. Analysis of flash flood disaster characteristics in China from 2011 to 2015. Nat Hazards 90, 407–420 (2018).

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