Floods occur when an overflow of water submerges land that is usually dry. Floods are often caused by heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt or storm surges from a tropical cyclone or tsunami in coastal areas.
- Flash floods are caused by rapid and excessive rainfall that raises water heights quickly;
- River floods are caused when consistent rain or snow melt forces a river to exceed capacity; and
- Coastal floods are caused by storm surges associated with tropical cyclones and tsunami.
A disaster needs assessment in Albania showed disproportionate impacts on women from the 2015 flood. Damage to crops and land caused women to suffer significant losses of produce, both for personal consumption and for sale. Damage to houses, furniture, and equipment was also a major concern. Gender-based violence also increased after the floods according to 64 percent of respondents, with women as ‘head of household’ reporting a higher incidence of violence (73.1 percent).
Gender inequalities in disaster impacts can also influence resilience to future disasters. In the context of frequent flood exposure, existing gender norms may drive women to stay close to their homes so they can salvage belongings when the flood comes, while men pick up employment outside the community. The nearby labor opportunities available to women may not offer the income and stability they need to respond efficiently to flood exposure, which in turn affect their capacity to cope with future shocks.