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Civil and Environmental Engineering


Responding to infrastructural damage in the aftermath of natural disasters at a national, regional, and local level poses a significant challenge. Damage to road networks, clean water supply, and sanitation infrastructures, as well as social amenities like schools and hospitals, exacerbates the circumstances. As safe water sources are destroyed or mixed with contaminated water during a disaster, the risk of a waterborne disease outbreak is elevated in those disaster-affected locations. A country such as Haiti, where a large quantity of the population is deprived of safe water and basic sanitation facilities, would suffer more in post-disaster scenarios. Early warning of waterborne diseases like cholera would be of great help for humanitarian aid, and the management of disease outbreak perspectives. The challenging task in disease forecasting is to identify the suitable variables that would better predict a potential outbreak. In this study, we developed five (5) models including a machine learning approach, to identify and determine the impact of the environmental and social variables that play a significant role in post-disaster cholera outbreaks. We implemented the model setup with cholera outbreak data in Haiti after the landfall of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Our results demonstrate that adding high-resolution data in combination with appropriate social and environmental variables is helpful for better cholera forecasting in a post-disaster scenario. In addition, using a machine learning approach in combination with existing statistical or mechanistic models provides important insights into the selection of variables and identification of cholera risk hotspots, which can address the shortcomings of existing approaches.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.