Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural disasters with more than 5,000 lives lost annually and result in significant social, economic and environmental impacts. Accounting for approximately 85% of the flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate (defined as the number of deaths per number of people affected) among different classes of flooding (e.g., riverine, coastal).
South-East Europe has experienced a significant number of severe meteorological and hydrological events in recent years. Heavy precipitation has caused floods and landslides. Droughts have increased the incidence of forest fires. People have suffered under prolonged heat and cold waves. There have been severe thunderstorms and hailstorms. These natural hazards have had significant impacts: human lives have been lost, property and infrastructure damaged, and the functioning of key sectors impaired.
The Middle East is one of the driest regions in the world, with many parts receiving less than 100 mm of rainfall per year. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports an expected precipitation decrease over the next century for large parts of the Middle East, a likely increase in the frequency and severity of droughts and a reduction in groundwater recharge rates.