Prehospital and Disaster Medicine

Original Research

Risk Factors for Injuries in Landslide- and Flood-Affected Populations in Uganda

Shreya Agrawala1, Tisha Gopalakrishnana1, Yuri Gorokhovicha2 and Shannon Doocya1 c1

a1 International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland USA

a2 Lehman College, City University of New York, New York, New York USA


Introduction The frequency of occurrence of natural disasters has increased over the past several decades, which necessitates a better understanding of human vulnerability, particularly in low-resource settings. This paper assesses risk factors for injury in the March 2010 floods and landslides in Eastern Uganda, and compares the effects of location, injury type, and severity.

Methods A stratified cluster survey of the disaster-affected populations was conducted five months after onset of the disasters. Probability proportional to size sampling was used to sample 800 households, including 400 affected by floods in Butaleja District and 400 affected by landslides in Bududa District.

Results Flood- and landslide-affected populations were surveyed in July 2010 using a stratified cluster design. The odds of injury were 65% higher in the flood-affected groups than the landslide-affected groups in a logistic regression (OR = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.24-0.52; P < .001). The injury rate was greater in individuals under 42 years of age, and location of injury was a contributing factor. More people were injured in the flood-affected population as compared with the landslide-affected population, and injuries were more severe.

Conclusions This study illustrates differences between populations injured by flood and landslide disasters that occurred simultaneously in Eastern Uganda in 2010. In areas where landslides are prone to occur due to massive rainfalls or floods, preventative measures, such as early warning systems and evacuation, are more likely to increase the likelihood of people surviving, while for areas with massive floods, immediate and effective medical attention can save lives and improve injury outcomes.

S Agrawal, T Gopalakrishnan, Y Gorokhovich, S Doocy. Risk factors for injuries in landslide- and flood-affected populations in Uganda. Prehosp Disast Med. 2013;28(4):1-9 .

(Received November 21 2012)

(Revised February 12 2013)

(Accepted February 18 2013)

(Online publication June 10 2013)


  • flood;
  • injuries;
  • landslide;
  • natural disasters;
  • uganda


c1 Correspondence: Shannon Doocy, PhD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 615 N. Wolfe St., Suite E8132 Baltimore, Maryland 21230 USA E-mail


  Conflicts of interest and funding: The authors have no disclosures or conflicts of interest to report. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (grant #0624106).