Home > Emergencies > Floods

FAO in emergencies app

Download now!

Connect with us

A subsistence farmer examines his destroyed banana crop from floods in Mozambique

Floods

Monsoon rains, snow melt, tidal waves and collapsed dams are some of the things that trigger floods that affect millions of people each year. The devastation is often widespread, from loss of life, property and infrastructure to food insecurity and disease. Floods are particularly disastrous for the world’s poor, the majority of whom live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their food and income.

Many struggle to replace what was lost or damaged, such as seeds, tools, livestock, animal feed or fishing gear. Stagnant waters often render crop land useless, and make it difficult to maintain livestock, which, without proper shelter, veterinary care or adequate feed, easily fall prey to disease or starvation. Floodwaters also pose a threat to food safety and public health – through spoilt food stocks and contaminated water supplies.

In Pakistan, floods killed nearly 2 000 people in 2010, wiped out 1.6 million homes and destroyed 2.4 million hectares of soon-to-be-harvested crops. Estimated agriculture losses stood at USD 5.1 billion. For the average Pakistani farming family, the disaster meant huge personal loss and growing debt – and fewer opportunities to earn a living. FAO, along with its partners in the Agriculture Cluster, worked quickly to ensure that Pakistani farmers would not miss the next planting season, delivering quality wheat and vegetable seeds, helping to clean and repair on-farm irrigation channels and providing feed and veterinary care to keep over one million animals alive and healthy. Within six months, FAO and partners managed to reach some 1.4 million farming families – roughly ten million people – across the country, helping to prevent the situation from getting worse.

In addition to its emergency response work, FAO is actively involved in helping communities become better prepared for, prevent and mitigate the risk of floods. In Malawi, one of several countries in southern Africa affected by severe flooding in 2011, FAO and partners helped farmers construct dykes along the edges of their maize crops to prevent water logging and to collect water for irrigation later on.

In Bangladesh, farmers routinely experience seasonal storms and flooding, while crumbling embankments along the coast do little to protect fields from sea water. FAO is promoting the use of saline-tolerant seed varieties, improved agricultural practices and better water and embankment management to help Bangladeshi farmers get more from their land.

In Haiti, FAO is supporting efforts to improve the management of the country’s natural resources, including reforesting watersheds – an important water source for crops and a buffer against flooding.

Related Topics

 - With this year's main planting season winding down in Ethiopia, there is still a small window of opportunity in September for farmers to plant the last set of ...read more
12/08/2016
 - In Somalia, up to 931,000 people remain in "crisis" and 22,000 more in "emergency".  In total 4.7 million people, 38 percent of the population, are acutely food ...read more
05/08/2016
 - To strengthen the ability of affected households to prepare for, respond to and recover from possible flood events.
26/07/2016
 - To produce quality flood and drought information and early warning products and services to inform humanitarian and emergency programming and responses in Somalia.
15/07/2016
 - Nationwide floods have levelled another blow to the recovery process for drought-affected pastoralists in Ethiopia. Well over 55 000 hectares of land – much of it ...read more
04/07/2016
 - In 2015, drought and floods linked to El Niño and the impact of the earthquake in Pakistan have left more than 1.5 million people in need ...read more
30/06/2016
 - The belg (spring) rains have arrived in Ethiopia but the effects of more than two years of persistent dry spells and poor rainfall continue to threaten ...read more
17/06/2016
 - The map of areas of potential vulnerability in Myanmar based on recent floods and cyclone events prepared by MIMU.
12/06/2016
 - Key messages As a result of the socio-political crisis and floods, rural and urban populations in Burundi have sold part of their assets, crops and small livestock, ...read more
08/06/2016
 - FAO, with funding from the Central Emergency Response Fund, provided emergency livelihood support to 10 000 flood-affected households (around 50 000 individuals) in Sagaing region, Myanmar. ...read more
25/05/2016