2016 – Life Loss Estimation from Flood Events: A New Approach to Population Redistribution with Uncertainty

Woodrow Lee Fields

Although flooding can lead to many types of severe consequences, the primary objective of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) dam and levee safety programs are to manage risk to the public who rely on those structures to keep them reasonably safe from flooding. Thus, reducing the risk associated with loss of life is paramount. This paper discusses new methods that have been developed for estimating life loss with uncertainty from flood events.

HEC-LifeSim is a dynamic simulation system for estimating life loss with the fundamental intent to simulate population redistribution during an evacuation in conjunction with flood wave propagation. The population redistribution process has been revised from the ground up as an agent based model. In addition to the agent based model, uncertainty analysis has been enhanced. Through Monte Carlo sampling, the natural variability of warning and mobilization timing and likelihood of fatality varies delivering a range of potential life loss from a hazard. Knowledge uncertainty about parameters, such as warning issuance time, can also be defined. To accommodate the new HEC-LifeSim computation engine, an innovative GIS interface has been developed to quickly summarize and animate results. The methods that are discussed in the following provide new tools to estimate life loss and educate local authorities.

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