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As the climate changes, hospitals are more at risk of flooding. We need better evacuation planning.

As the climate changes, hospitals are more at risk of flooding. We need better evacuation planning.

Floods in Townsville seen from above

We need to help hospitals that are under pressure from COVID-19. These should be protectedAnother threat is increasing as the world heats.

This is a threat. Flooding. Many hospitals in Australia were built on land that was cheaply located near rivers. Climate change is threatening to make areas once safe uninhabitable. We need to plan ahead in order to avoid flooding entrapping healthcare workers and patients.

Our Research in progressFuture floods in low lying areas of Western Sydney could disrupt road networks and prevent safe evacuation of patients. This region was hit hard by floods last year and more are possible. Enter a flooding cycle. This fast-growing region is rated one of Australia’s highest flooding risks, and hosts a number of healthcare facilities built in flood-prone areas.

The solution? We believe new methods of mathematical modelling can help decision makers optimize plans for safe evacuation in different flooding situations. These methods can help save lives by reducing evacuation times.

Hospitals weren’t built to withstand larger floods.

Around 80% of Australians live within 50 km of the coast. Many hospitals were built on land that was low and close to rivers and seas. Most were designedClimate change risks are not something to be taken into consideration.

Floods in Townsville seen from above

Many roads were cut and cars left stranded in the floods of 2019 Townsville.
Andrew Rankin/AAP

The major floods caused by Last year, La NinaWe have seen how vulnerable many cities are to flooding from the devastating 2010-2011 Queensland floods. Already in 2022, we’ve seen Floods of large magnitudeUp and down the east coast

Australia is expected to see less rainfall due to climate change, with the exception of the tropical north. The rain that does drop will be more likely than ever to fall in short bursts. Health facilities are at greater risk from flash floods in rivers caused by intense rain events and cyclones.

Continue reading:
Floods will get worse. We need to prepare now for them

Some urban areas are on Highly flood-prone areas. For example, the NSW Hawkesbury Nepean floodplan anticipates a flood that is similar to the The 1867 flood, infamousIt would result in approximately 90,000.

That’s to say nothing of flooding from the sea. 75 hospitals and other health care facilities in Australia are within 200m of the ocean. If the seas rise one metre as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this puts them at serious risk from coastal erosion and flooding by the end of century. predicts.

This is not a hypothetical scenario. Hospitals have been built. Left without powerFloods ravaged some areas for days, and others were forced to evacuate. evacuate patients. Only last year, floods on the east coast caused road closures and forced authorities to take action. Look for alternativesPeople who are unable or unwilling to go to hospital.

This is a crucial point. Hospitals play a crucial role in creating a resilient society. It is vital that they are able and willing to operate in emergency situations.

The World Health Organization (WHO), is a global health organization. Originally called forYou can get a better understanding about the danger posed by flooding.

What can we do?

There is very little information available in our region about how to evacuate hospitals in the event a major flood occurs. We simply haven’t done enough research.

Our work revealed that the issue was extremely complex. Where would patients be evacuated, for example? How safe is it? What routes are safe in the event of a major flood? How would medical personnel get to other hospitals?

Recent floods offer evidenceMany hospitals in flood areas will have to transfer patients and resources to other facilities.

Continue reading:
Sydney’s catastrophic flood was not unprecedented. We’re about enter a 50-year cycle of major floods.

What can hospitals do better?

See Also
A woman walks past tall grass at the side of a paved path.

To improve emergency evacuation planning, hospital administrators heavily rely on evacuation drills. These drills can be disruptive and costly, and their effectiveness can be difficult to evaluate.

We have New approaches to mathematical modellingIt could greatly help hospital managers plan for a flood to stop them from becoming disasters.

For example, analysis of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley can visually show how different size flood events would impact on hospitals, healthcare and aged care facilities, as well as roads, bridges and electricity lines.

figure showing different flood sizes in Western Sydney

Modelling outcomes for a range of flooding scenarios in Western Sydney’s Hawksbury-Nepean valley.
Author provided

Imagine the Hawksbury-Nepean Valley region Floods againLike last year. Administrators of hospitals will have to deal with the problem when a hospital floods and patients are forced to evacuate. Which roads do they take patients down?

Our team has developed sophisticated modeling that will allow us to predict which routes are the best. This is based on road conditions, staff availability, ambulance and staff availability, patient health needs, and availability of staff and beds in other hospitals. The models allow us optimize routes for urgent patients.

Hospital administrators will find the models useful because they can see the likely scenarios and plan ahead for the worst.

Climate change can cause floods to explode, as we are finding out more. It is important that decision makers plan ahead. Flood and evacuation simulations can save lives now.

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