Aerial photo after flooding in the Greater Makassar region by Micah Fisher



Although floods are not the most lethal of disasters, they are the most common risk of disaster worldwide (Lyu et al. 2016), resulting in some of the most severe and chronic economic and social impacts. The likelihood of flooding is also increasing around the world. The 2020 World Disaster Report commissioned by the International Federation of the Red Cross highlighted that more than 83% of natural hazard disasters were triggered by weather-related and climate-induced incidents in the past decade, and more than half of those were in the form of flooding (IFRC, 2020).

Such phenomena are increasingly common across the Asia-Pacific, which is a vast, multi-faceted, and populous region that ranges in hazard complexities and flood profiles. For example, the region is home to some of the largest river basins in the world, that span great distances and cross international borders and lead to complex inundation dynamics. Meanwhile, numerous coastal and island communities are increasingly facing floods from sea level rise, land subsidence, and storm surges (Oppenheimer et al. 2019). The continuous increase of hydrometeorological events results in more pronounced and severe flooding and has surpassed historical events in size and frequency, particularly in tropical regions (Thomas and Lopez, 2015). During 2000-2016, floods accounted for over 40% of all disaster incidents in Asia and are particularly significant compared to the prevalence of other significant natural disasters, including earthquakes, landslides, extreme temperatures, storms, drought, wildfire, and epidemics (Ashraf et al. 2017). The OECD (2019) estimates that the number of people at risk of flooding will increase from 1.2 to 1.6 billion people between now and 2050.

With more significant climate variability and anticipated development trajectories, flooding will be both a rural and an urban challenge, one that has already resulted in widespread displacement and migration (Dun, 2011). The rapidly urbanizing character of the Asia-Pacific region is resulting in rapid expansion of impermeable surfaces, adding to flood vulnerability. The higher concentration of populations and assets in cities leads to greater exposure and more pronounced damages (Diakakis et al., 2017). Hence, flood events create heightened vulnerabilities to significant populations, presenting a major barrier to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) and pointing to the need to emphasize flood interventions as a fundamental goal of climate change adaptation (IPCC, 2018). Meanwhile, rapid land-use changes and development projects for more intensive purposes, such as plantation agriculture, have also reshaped flood dynamics in rural areas (Kelley and Prabowo, 2019).

Flood risk management (FRM) is driving academic debates and policy discussions, as well as raising controversy across its normative and theoretical framings (Kuhlicke et al., 2020; Raska et al., 2019; Mees et al., 2016). FRM is a multi-dimensional issue, complicated through the processes of involving multiple actors that interact at different governing scales (Raska et al. 2019), and thus calls for increasing multi-disciplinarity. In this special issue, we aim to engage theoretically and empirically towards a greater understanding of flooding and its relationship to vulnerability and resilience in the Asia-Pacific region. This includes a critical examination of existing FRM models and practices, as well as the various politics and discourses that shape the complexity of flood regimes and governing systems.

We welcome studies from multiple backgrounds that contribute to a greater understanding of flood risk in the Asia-Pacific, especially those with a geographic focus on Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific. Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Flood risk management/flood mitigation/disaster risk reduction - involving formal, informal, adaptive, indigenous, and polycentric institutions and governance
  • Climate change adaptation and resilience
  • Urban / rural dimensions of flooding
  • Floods and environmental justice
  • Flood systems, including forecasting, early warning, and response systems.
  • Mass media & communication, disruptive technology, and flood risk management/flood mitigation


Submission Guidelines

  • Submission: February 2021 – August 2022
  • Peer review: From submission until December 2022
  • Publication: April 2023
  • For further information, read the full instruction for authors. We also provide a template for submission here
  • Submit your paper via the journal’s online submission site:



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