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Protecting Wetlands Yields Staggering Economic Benefit, Study Finds

At least five people dead as thunderstorms cause widespread flooding across Egypt

Cairo

A car sits in a flooded street in Cairo, Egypt, on March 12, 2020. -/AFP/Getty Images

Thunderstorms packing heavy rains and lightning caused widespread flooding across Egypt on Thursday, killing at least five people and injuring five others, officials said as authorities shuttered schools, government offices and an airport.

A child died and five people were injured when floods demolished their houses in a rural area in the southern province of Qena, where lightning ignited several fires. Also in Qena, a motorist was killed when winds blew his car into a canal. Photos and video footage circulated on social media showed flooded roads, damaged bus shelters and broken windows around the country.

In western New Valley province, a technician was electrocuted while trying to fix a lighting column that went off due to the rain, local officials said. In southern Sohag province, a 35-year-old bystander died under the rubble of a wall that was knocked down by wind….

 

Protecting Wetlands Yields Staggering Economic Benefit, Study Finds

Mangrove forests, marshes and seagrass beds protect inland areas from storm surges and strong winds. Over long periods, coastal wetlands like these build up sediment that mitigates sea level rise and local land subsidence.

A new analysis of property damage from Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal storms has shown that counties with larger wetlands suffered lower property damage costs than did counties with smaller wetlands.

“Starting in 1996, the U.S. government started to produce damage estimates for each tropical cyclone in a consistent manner,” explained coauthor Richard Carson, an economist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla. Before that, the data were collected only for hurricanes, which hindered past attempts to put a price on the marginal value, or price per unit, of wetlands, he said. With the complete data set, the researchers examined all 88 tropical cyclones and hurricanes that affected the U.S. starting in 1996. That time period includes Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy…

 

Protecting Mangroves Can Prevent Billions of Dollars in Global Flooding Damage Every Year

Hurricanes and tropical storms are estimated to cost the U.S. economy more than $50 billion yearly in damage from winds and flooding. And as these storms travel across the Atlantic, they also ravage many Caribbean nations.

We study coastal ecosystems and how to value the natural coastal defenses provided by mangroves, marshes and coral reefs. In a new study, we map flood risks along more than 435,000 miles (700,000 kilometers) of subtropical shoreline in 59 countries around the world.

Along these coasts, we calculate that flood risks exceed $730 billion annually in direct impacts to property. Many government agencies and insurers estimate that indirect impacts to livelihoods and other economic activity are two to three times these direct flood costs.

We also estimate that across these 59 countries, mangroves – salt-tolerant trees that grow along tropical coastlines worldwide – reduce risk to more than 15 million people and prevent more than $65 billion in property damages every year. Mangroves do this by blocking storm surge – the rise in sea level during storms – and dampening waves, which protect people and structures near the shore…

 

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