Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content


What they are, and how we help

What is a flood?

Flash floods are unexpected, extreme volumes of water that flow rapidly. They're often difficult to forecast and leave communities little time to escape.

In the aftermath of a flood, structural damage to buildings is common; in severe cases, structures could collapse or be swept away.

The primary cause of flood-related death is drowning, while injuries can range from cuts and bruises, to electric shocks.

As a flash flood takes hold, families are often forced to flee to high ground, with their drinking water contaminated and sanitation at risk. Later, the return home brings new challenges, with increased risk of diseases such as cholera or malaria.

Like floods, landslides/mudslides can cause slow, gradual damage, or more rapidly destroy buildings and endanger people’s lives.

Typically caused by natural events like heavy rain or volcanic eruptions, landslides often happen in the same place more than once.

Heavy rains or rapid snow-melting can lead to landslides, which also frequently occur in areas burned by forest and brush fires.

How do Save the Children help children affected by floods?

In general, when responding to a flood Save the Children will:

Food Security and Livelihoods

  • Deliver emergency food

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Repair water supply points
  • Build latrines and distribute hygiene kits


  • Provide basic health services


  • Provide temporary shelter materials


Group of displaced children who currently live in a refugee camp in Idlib in north west Syria are photographed after heavy rains and flash flooding affected the camp.

Children affected by the flooding at camps in Syria

In December 2018, children and families who had been forced to flee their homes because of violence and war faced a desperate winter. 

In North West Syria, at least 35,000 children were left freezing cold after torrential rains flooded their makeshift tents and left them with nowhere to sleep. These were some of the most vulnerable children, who already had nothing.

Over 70,000 Syrian refugees in camps in neighbouring Lebanon also struggled to keep warm amid snowstorms and flooding. 

In response, Save the Children and its partners distributed over 1,000 blankets, mattresses, and plastic sheets, as well as jerrycans, solar lamps, and hygiene kits that included soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and sanitary towels.