Coastal cities face rising risk of flood losses: Study
PARIS, France (AFP) - The world's 136 largest coastal cities could risk combined annual losses of $1 trillion (S$1.27 trillion) from floods by 2050 unless they drastically raise their defences, a study warned on Sunday.
Current losses are about US$6 billion per year, with four cities - Miami, New York and New Orleans in the United States and Guangzhou in China - incurring 43 per cent of the costs, according to a report in the journal Nature Climate Change.
World Bank economist Stephane Hallegatte and colleagues composed a loss risk scenario based on city population growth as well as different levels of sea level rise, protection upgrades and subsidence - the sinking of surface areas often linked to the extraction of oil or other ground resources.
Assuming cities improve their protection to contain the flood risk to current levels, and based purely on the projected growth of city populations and the assets accumulated there, the team warned of a nine-fold increase in losses to US$52 billion per year by 2050.