During the last two decades, floods and droughts have displaced more than 25 million people. Climate change is accelerating the processes of desertification and increasing the risks that result from these phenomena in many regions. Traditionally, these disasters have been considered inevitable and unpredictable. However, oftentimes, man is the cause.

Some key factors that lead to these catastrophes include the construction of large dams without adequate guarantees of security, deforestation, the associated risk of landslides, the prioritization of hydroelectricity while ignoring flooding risks to people downstream, and the urbanization of riverine areas usually for poor people.

Furthermore, the impact of these phenomena depend on the level of vulnerability of affected populations. The poorest are undeniably more at risk, and the majority of the people affected by these disasters (natural or not natural) are poor.

© Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua 2009