198400 A framework for application of operation research techniques to prevent flood and consequent public health challenges: Lessons from floods in Surat, India

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dileep V. Mavalankar, Prof , Centre for Management of Health Systems, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad, India
Parvathy Sankar Raman, Mrs , Center for Managment in Health Services, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad-15, Ahmedabad, India
Background: Global warming is predicted to increase the risks of extreme weather events including flooding. Floods cause major public health challenges such as death and disease. The floods in Surat city in India has caused major plague epidemic in 1994 and in 2006 it caused estimated damage of 5 billions USD.

Objective: Study of causation of flood in Surat in 2006 to develop information technology based framework for decision support system (DSS) prevent floods and consequent public health challenges.

Methods: Analysis of the available reports and literature on how poor dam management caused flood of 2006 in Surat. In addition we have studied available literature on dam management in the world.

Results: Our analysis showed that Tapti rive dam is being managed using very little modern information technology or operations research (OR) tools increasing risk of flood. Using OR models of inventory control and applying them to dam on Tapi river, we have identified more than 18 parameters of the river system, which need to be considered for water management in the dam. Using these we have developed a simple conceptual framework for a Decision Support System (DSS) which can minimize risk of flood and consequent public health challenges.

Discussion/ Conclusions: Given that climate change make floods in some areas more likely, such DSS systems would help reduce the flood risk substantially. Such information technology and OR models once developed can be easily adapted to various dam systems. The public health benefit of such DSS can be immense.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the flood risk & public health implication of poor management of dams using example of floods in Surat city in 2006. 2. Identifying parameters that can help build an operation research (OR) based DSS model for dam management to reduce risk of flooding. 3. Demonstrate use of information technology in dam management to prevent floods and consequent risk to Public Health in flood prone areas.

Keywords: Information Technology, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have co-authored in this paper
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.