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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-264
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-264
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Aug 2020

24 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Assessing Chinese flood protection and its social divergence

Dan Wang1, Paolo Scussolini2, and Shiqiang Du1,2,3 Dan Wang et al.
  • 1School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China
  • 2Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 3Institute of Urban Studies, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China

Abstract. China is one of the most flood-prone countries, and development within floodplains is intensive. However, flood protection levels (FPL) across the country are unknown, hampering the present assertive efforts on flood risk management. Based on the flood-protection prescriptions contained in the national flood policies, this paper develops a FPL dataset of China and investigates how China should be protected accordingly and the divergent protections between demographic groups. The dataset agrees with local flood protection plans in 34 of archived 51 counties, validating the policy-based FPLs as a reliable proxy for actual FPLs. The FPLs are much higher than that in the previous global dataset, suggesting Chinese flood risk may have been overestimated. High FPLs (≥ 50-year return period) are seen in 282 or only 12.6 % of the evaluated counties, but with a majority (55.1 %) of the total exposed population. However, the low-FPL counties (< 50-year return period) host a disproportionate share (52.3 %) of the exposed vulnerable population (children and elders), higher than their share (44.9 %) of the exposed population. These results imply that, to reduce social vulnerability and decrease potential casualties, investment into flood risk management should also consider the demographic characteristics of the exposed population.

Dan Wang et al.

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Short summary
Flood protection level (FPL) is vital for risk analysis and management, but scarce in realty particularly for developing countries. This paper develops a policy-based FPL dataset for China and validated it using local FPL designs and plans. The FPLs are much higher than that in global database, suggesting Chinese flood risk should be lower with the required FPLs. Moreover, the FPLs are lower for western China and the vulnerable people, implying a spatial and social divergence of the FPLs.
Flood protection level (FPL) is vital for risk analysis and management, but scarce in realty...
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