Conference Paper

History of Floods in Greece: Causes and Measures for Protection

Authors:
  • National Foundation for Agricultural Research, Institute of Crete
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Abstract

Floods as diachronic and international phenomena affect numerous people, building and infrastructure. Throughout human history, floods are the most lethal and have caused more economic losses than other natural disasters. In this review the history of floods in ancient Greece since the early Bronze Age is presented. Generally, ancient Greeks avoided living near rivers probably for protection from floods and water related diseases. Representative impressive hydraulic anti flooding works including dams, walls, channels from different cities in the Minoan era, and the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman period are presented. It is concluded that the hazards with respect to flood events are more severe today than in ancient times. The ongoing urbanization through the centuries has led to an increasing and unmanageable flood risk. For this reason, a set of special measures should be applied in vulnerable areas aiming to mitigate severe damages that floods might cause, including anti-flooding dams, rainwater harvesting and rain gardens for stormwater retention, reforestation, and other smart environmental strategies.

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