Heavy rainfall caused flooding of the Meuse River in Limburg, the Netherlands, July 2021.This paper presents a descriptive overview of short-term and intermediate phase health impacts that occurred within a month after the floods, focused on (perceived) general health complaints and COVID-19 incidence.
Most questionnaire respondents reported an increase in psychological complaints such as fear, stress, and depression among their patients directly and one month after the floods. Elderly and children were mentioned as specific vulnerable groups for health effects. The respondents noted a clear relationship between the extent to which people were affected and the occurrence and severity of the health complaints.
The floods and subsequent disruptions have, according to health professionals, led to higher numbers of reported psychological symptoms and may have caused an increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the region. Long-term health impacts of the floods have yet to be studied but would have to consider potential secondary effects in addition to mental health and COVID-19.
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Source: Journal of Coastal and Riverine Flood RiskVol.2,2023, paper 4