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Indian J Community Med. 2012 Jul;37(3):185-90. doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.99928.

Disaster management in flash floods in leh (ladakh): a case study.

Author information

1
Regimental Medical Officer, Leh, Ladakh, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

On August 6, 2010, in the dark of the midnight, there were flash floods due to cloud burst in Leh in Ladakh region of North India. It rained 14 inches in 2 hours, causing loss of human life and destruction. The civil hospital of Leh was badly damaged and rendered dysfunctional. Search and rescue operations were launched by the Indian Army immediately after the disaster. The injured and the dead were shifted to Army Hospital, Leh, and mass casualty management was started by the army doctors while relief work was mounted by the army and civil administration.

OBJECTIVE:

The present study was done to document disaster management strategies and approaches and to assesses the impact of flash floods on human lives, health hazards, and future implications of a natural disaster.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The approach used was both quantitative as well as qualitative. It included data collection from the primary sources of the district collectorate, interviews with the district civil administration, health officials, and army officials who organized rescue operations, restoration of communication and transport, mass casualty management, and informal discussions with local residents.

RESULTS:

234 persons died and over 800 were reported missing. Almost half of the people who died were local residents (49.6%) and foreigners (10.2%). Age-wise analysis of the deaths shows that the majority of deaths were reported in the age group of 25-50 years, accounting for 44.4% of deaths, followed by the 11-25-year age group with 22.2% deaths. The gender analysis showed that 61.5% were males and 38.5% were females. A further analysis showed that more females died in the age groups <10 years and ≥50 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Disaster preparedness is critical, particularly in natural disasters. The Army's immediate search, rescue, and relief operations and mass casualty management effectively and efficiently mitigated the impact of flash floods, and restored normal life.

KEYWORDS:

Disaster management; humanitarian assistance; mass casualty management

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