In spite of the fact that mass gatherings are an undeniably regular element of our society attended by huge crowds yet such occasions are not very well understood. Even though such gatherings are accumulations of "well people", vast number of people associated with mass gatherings can put a serious strain on the entire health care system .The public health implications of mass gathering events include a potential increased risk for disease transmission because of the variability and mobility of those attending the event and increased media attention. Risk assessment for mass gathering events is crucial to identify the potential health hazards which aids in planning and response activities specific to the event . Preparing for mass gatherings offer an opportunity to improve health service delivery, enhance health promotion and strengthen public health systems . In India, many of the religious festivals are observed with mass gatherings and prayers. Large crowd participate in such festivals as participants to observe the unique rituals and also as spectators. Literature indicates that in India, we might be well equipped for response activities but the scientific concept of risk assessment i.e., to understand the existing risks, identify the risks, characterize the risks and plan for risk reduction strategies accordingly are at an infant stage .The little that has been done in the field of mass gatherings has generally focused on description of preparedness activities of single event, crowd control, prevention of stampedes with little attention to public health preparedness. The present project is an attempt to systemize the process of risk assessment by developing a risk assessment tool consisting of characteristics peculiar to planned religious mass gatherings of Indian context.
Objective: To develop a risk assessment tool to assess the public health and environmental risks associated with religious mass gathering events of Tamil Nadu, a state in the southern part of India