Improve capacity to respond to floods and other emergencies

In 2007, the worst monsoon rains in years devastated South Asia, killing more than 1,400 people. In Bangladesh, floods displaced or stranded about 14 million people, mainly the poorest and most vulnerable. Many lost their land, homes, and livelihoods. Damage to and destruction of water systems also led to water scarcity and large outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease. 

Although water risks are part of life in the low-lying countries of South Asia, understanding of the health impact of floods is limited. IANPHI funded a cross-sectional descriptive study at the Bangladesh Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control & Research (IEDCR) to document the magnitude of and risk factors for flood-related illness, injury, and death. Another aim of this capacity-building project was to improve disaster preparedness and response capacity to decrease the adverse health impact of future events. 

Now completed, the study provided baseline data on the health effects of catastrophic flooding and also developed IEDCR capacity in health crisis management after floods. Field staff not only improved their capacity to intervene quickly during natural disasters but also improved their skills in epidemiologic field work and data management. Laboratory scientists likewise improved their skills in timely sample collection, transport, preservation, and analysis. 

Information collected on the magnitude of health problems occurring during and after floods provides important baseline data for future flood seasons and will guide development of a surveillance system for flood-related adverse events. Skills gained during the implementation of the study also increased IEDCR capacity for fast and effective response to floods and other emergencies. 

Learn more about IEDCR >>