An Information Technology (IT) System–based Framework for Capabilities Readiness against Scalable Levels of Flash-Flood Risk in Saudi Arabia

  • Mohammad Adnan M Hijji

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Since 1964, Saudi Arabia has suffered several major flash-flooding events. The most serious events in terms of fatalities and affected citizens were associated with flash-floods in Jeddah. There has been some dispute over the accuracy of records, but public outcry and blame have been firmly directed toward what has been perceived as poor preparedness and response by the Saudi Civil Defence (CD) Authority. This research, therefore, addresses the preparedness and response shortcomings of the Saudi CD Authority as part of the four-part Disaster Management Lifecycle.
    The main goal of this research is to investigate if the use of Information Technology (IT) systems will help to improve the capability preparedness of the Saudi CD Authority against scalable levels of flash-flood events. It is particularly focused on three types of Emergency Management Capabilities (EMC): (i) equipment, (ii) Human Resources (HR), (iii) and training. Therefore, this research covers two areas: capability preparedness in flood management and the use of IT systems to improve the performance of the current flood management approach. It has been found that to achieve an effective performance, it is important that the authorities in charge have an appropriate level of readiness across all types of EMC for responding to and dealing with any level of flooding effectively. It was identified from previous literature that the process of achieving capability readiness involves a high uncertainty in the decision-making process, particularly with respect to the evaluation of the adequacy of current EMC, identifying and addressing necessary improvements in EMC, and determining where to source for mutual-aid, including the type, quantity and quality to request, or even decide which centre can offer mutual-aid to other centres. All of these factors are also based on other necessary information that is uncertain for decision-makers, including information relating to the dynamic changes in local Hazard and Vulnerability (HV) factors, which is essential for the efficient planning for allocating the appropriate level of readiness in local EMC.
    Hence, the research shown in this thesis develops a capability readiness framework for the management of flash-flood based on extensive literature research as well as quantitative and qualitative data collection from two prominent case study locations in Saudi Arabia (i.e., Jeddah and Mecca). This includes the modelling of three levels of flash-flood in the case study to enable the efficient allocation of resources.
    The research also proposes an IT system whose design is based on the developed framework, and constructed based on the approach of a Web-based Fuzzy Expert System. It was tested in the Saudi CD Authority using a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches to evaluate the expected benefits and improvements that can be realised from adopting the proposed solution. The results showed that the use of the proposed IT system increased capability readiness of the Saudi CD Authority to manage the anticipated levels of flash-flood.
    This research contributes to the present theoretical knowledge in three main areas. First, this research is the first of its kind to capture and assess the current flash-flood management practice by the Saudi CD Authority and to develop a more improved and detailed capability preparedness framework for flash-flood management. Second, this research is the first to develop a tailored and comprehensive IT system that will support the Saudi CD Authority in managing flash-flood risks by having an effective and efficient preparedness in the capability of allocating optimal human resources, equipment and training. Finally, this study evaluates and identifies the impact of using an IT system as ‘a tool’ for the capability readiness of the Saudi CD Authority in the management of scalable levels of flash-flood.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSaad Amin (Supervisor), Rahat Iqbal (Supervisor) & Wayne Harrop (Supervisor)

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