Elizabeth Mroz

Elizabeth Mroz

Profile

I am a Masters by Research student modelling the spatio-temporal impact of seasonal flooding on access to healthcare for the Barotse Floodplain, Zambia. 

The Barotse Floodplain is located within Western Province, Zambia, and forms part of the Zambezi river basin. An estimated 250,000 people live on the floodplain which experiences distinctive dry and wet seasons, resulting in annual floods. Floodwaters rise from November onwards, peak by April, and then decline by July. Despite occurring annually, the impact of these seasonal floods on the transport network has never been quantified. This has implications for local healthcare, including the ability of local populations to access healthcare providers as well as the ability of healthcare facilities to maintain adequate medical supplies during the wet season. Despite acknowledgement by Phalkey et al. (2012) that accessibility to healthcare facilities during and after floods in low-income countries is an issue, the effect of seasonal flooding and precipitation on access to healthcare remains understudied (Makanga et al., 2017).

My Masters by Research project builds upon the work I completed as part of a research placement in my undergraduate degree. In my research placement, I created an automated model in FME (Feature Manipulation Engine) and QGis that assessed road network accessibility under different monthly flood scenarios. This model was successful in providing the first insight into how accessibility changes monthly between the dry and wet seasons for the Barotse Floodplain. However, the results were limited as they only displayed a binary representation of accessibility/inaccessibility for the road network. Consequently, my Masters by Research project will expand upon the GIS modelling framework to assess not only motorised transport access, but also walking travel times and distances, and boat access. These three modes of accessibility will be assessed monthly using empirical precipitation data, and flood water depth and velocity outputs from a 12m-resolution 1D-2D LISFLOOD-FP inundation model. This will demonstrate more “spatio-temporally” the changing accessibility across the hydrological year rather than consider geographical accessibility through a static, dichotomous wet/dry lens. This project will produce the first quantitative assessment of the impacts of seasonal flooding on healthcare accessibility in the Barotse Floodplain; these results will be of relevance to Zambia, but also for other countries affected by seasonal flooding. 

Research interests

  • GIS
  • Remote sensing
  • Hydrology
  • Inundation modelling
  • Geomorphology 

Qualifications

  • 2016-2020, BSc Geography (Industrial), University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management