West Lafayette, IN (SPX) Oct 08, 2010
Researchers have created a computer model that predicts how a disaster's impact on critical infrastructure would affect a city's social and economic fabric, a potential tool to help reduce the severity of impacts, manage the aftermath of catastrophe and fortify infrastructure against future disasters.
"The model works for any type of disaster that influences the infrastructure," said Makarand Hastak, head of construction engineering and management and a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University. "If we can identify in advance the most vulnerable elements of the critical infrastructure, then we can take proactive measures to reinforce them or at least find alternatives."
The model simulates how a disaster affects elements such as bridges, roads, municipal water and wastewater treatment services, along with vital economic and social components such as employers, hospitals, schools and churches.
"It can be most effectively used as a planning tool before a disaster because it enables you to put preventative measures in place," said Hastak, who is working with doctoral student Abhijeet Deshmukh.
"But it can also be used while the disaster is unfolding to anticipate what will happen next and make decisions about where to evacuate and where to direct disaster relief, as well as after the disaster is over to assess the economic and social impacts."
The model was created by Eun Ho "Daniel" Oh, a former Purdue doctoral student who is a research specialist at the Korea Institute of Construction Technology in Seoul.
The researchers demonstrated their prototype on several cities, including Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which was hit by a devastating flood in the summer of 2008.
Findings on how to quantify impacts from disasters will be presented during the International Conference on Disaster Management on Nov 15 and 16 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. The paper was written by Hastak, Oh, Deshmukh and J. Eric Dietz, director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute and an associate professor of computer and information technology.
Related publications written by Deshmukh, Oh and Hastak, show how the model was used to study 2008 flood damage to infrastructure in St. Louis, Gulfport and Des Plaines, Ill., and Terre Haute, Ind.
Cedar Rapids, however, sustained the brunt of the disaster, which exceeded a 500-year flood, blocking access to the city's government center and overwhelming the Cedar River, which is vital for industry, commerce and transportation.
"Cedar Rapids is a good case study because it relies on a major river," Hastak said.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation's Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events program. The simulation model is called a "disaster impact mitigation support system."
"The model helps you identify the most vulnerable parts of the infrastructure so that a community can target spending in preparing for a disaster," Deshmukh said. "For electricity, you could have generators; you could have alternatives for water or wastewater; for transportation and the supply chain, you could have a warehouse that stores products away from the river."
A report using the method to document infrastructure damage caused by the Cedar Rapids flood was completed in 2009.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
Pakistan stability in play with flood aid: UNHCR official
Geneva (AFP) Oct 5, 2010
A UN refugee official suggested on Tuesday that Pakistan's geopolitical stability was at stake unless international aid accelerates to help about 20 million Pakistanis hit by devastating floods. The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the situation remained "critically difficult" in some areas, while shelter and recovery for hundreds of thousands of people was s ... read more
Model Aims To Reduce Disaster Toll On City's Social, Economic Fabric|
Slow return to school for quake-hit Haiti's students
Pakistan stability in play with flood aid: UNHCR official
Bin Laden concerned by climate, Pakistan floods: audiotape
Japan seeks solutions for rare earth curb
GetJar out to make mobile phone applications free
No 3D magic for new Harry Potter movie
US parents want better privacy protections for kids: survey
Seals help map ocean floor
Ocean Census Reveals Life Rich, Connected, Altered World
Coral Oasis Found In Mediterranean Desert
Environmental groups slam report on bluefin tuna quotas
Himalayan climate change action urged
Disappearing Glaciers Enhanced Biodiversity
Argentine Congress votes to restrict mining near glaciers
Putin says Arctic must remain 'zone of peace'
Sinochem seeks Ottawa's support for Potash Corp bid: media
Saving Tropical Forests By Valuing Their Carbon And Improving Farm Tech
Protecting biodiversity will 'help' ASEAN economies: experts
Anti-GM crop petition tops million signatures
One dead, thousands affected in Philippine floods: police
Hurricane Otto forms in Atlantic
More than 1,000 villages flooded on China's Hainan island
Otto becomes a tropical storm in Atlantic
Sudan military says south troops crossed disputed border
Zambia backs off threat to shut down Internet providers
UN's Ban decries shortage of troops, supplies in restive DRC
UN envoys put spotlight on Sudan conflict fears
Study finds brain changes during sleep
Canadian helps severely disabled speak through music
Suicide rate rises among China's elderly: state media
China marks 30 years of one-child policy
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|