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Death due to major flooding worldwide up to 2016

This statistic shows the number of deaths due to flooding disasters in certain countries between 1900 and 2016*. The floods in China in July 1931 led to 3.7 million deaths.


The 1931 Central China floods caused the most deaths due to a flood in the past century. 28 years later in 1959, the Yellow River flooded into East China killing an estimated 2 million people. The death toll due to this flood has been also associated with the Great sparrow campaign that arose due to the Great Chinese Famine that began in 1958. Citizens were told to kill sparrows and other wild birds that ate crop seeds which lead to an explosive increase in the population of crop-eating insects. This massive ecological shift, starvation, as well as floods and drought lead to the deaths of many Chinese people. More recently, a 1996 flood and 1998 flood in Yangtze, China caused some 30.7 billion U.S. dollars and 24 billion U.S. dollars in damage. In 2014, 38 lives were lost in the United States due to floods or flash floods.
Since 1980, the two of the most significant natural disasters have been the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, which caused 22,570 deaths and the 2004 earthquake and resulting tsunami which caused 220,000 deaths in countries like Thailand and Sri Lanka. Death tolls in Haiti were aggravated by poverty and poor housing conditions that many Haitians experience.

Number of deaths due to major floods from 1900 to 2016*

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Release date

November 2016



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Figures are as of November 17, 2016.

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Statistics on "Natural Disasters"

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