Poster Session Abstracts
Studying the Impact of Housing Conditions on Hurricane Preparedness Intentions in Florida
There is a paucity of research on how the built environment influences risk perception in a disaster context. All hurricane preparedness actions start from home since it is the first line of defense in the face of any storm. The first hurricane preparedness action is to have access to a safe indoor space when a hurricane hits. No one would benefit from preparedness actions if they were outdoors during a hurricane. But the entire risk perception depends on how safe or unsafe someone feels in their dwelling if a hurricane were to hit. There are many physical characteristics of a residence which influence the risk perceptions of occupants, such as housing type, the material of exterior building walls, having a basement, and the size and type of windows. To our knowledge, there have been no studies conducted to explore the relationship between housing conditions/characteristics and risk perception, and how that relationship influences hurricane preparedness intentions and behaviors. This poster describes a study which aimed to fill this research gap. Florida was specifically chosen to be the location of this research given its significant vulnerability to hurricanes. This quantitative study utilized an online survey of 1,152 residents in Tallahassee, Gainesville, and Miami, Florida. Different statistical approaches were used to uncover patterns and quantify behaviors and attitudes so that could be generalized to Floridian communities.
Assessing International Students’ Vulnerability to Hurricanes: University of Florida Case Study
Disaster research concerning the behavior of international students at U.S. institutions of higher education in the context of emergencies is extremely limited. The main objective of our study is to develop new knowledge about international students’ behavior during hurricane events in order to enhance the overall campus crisis management. We conducted a mixed methods study using quantitative and qualitative methods at University of Florida (UF) main campus in Gainesville, Florida. We interviewed UF administrative leaders committed to international students’ safety in emergencies and surveyed 120 international students.
The data analysis sought to provide insights into one main research question: In a disaster context, what challenges do international students face that contribute to their vulnerability at UF main campus? We found three main groups of challenges: (1) Institutional challenges, (2) Challenges to students’ well-being and daily life, and (3) Disaster preparedness challenges. Moreover, the results showed considerable variations in students’ behavior by gender, ethnicity, housing, degree level, and previous hurricane experience. The research findings shed light on an under-investigated topic and contribute to an increased understanding of international students' vulnerabilities at U.S. institutions of higher education.
Evaluating the Mental Health of International Students During the COVID-19 Outbreak
During early period of the COVID-19 pandemic, international students in the United States were informed by officials in the U.S. government that they would be deported to their home countries if they enrolled in fully online programs. This announcement led to international students being forced to choose between prioritizing their health or their education. Although this proclamation was soon altered to permit students to continue learning online without fear of being deported, it set off a wave of stress and anxiety among this population. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey of international students at the University of Florida (UF) and received 165 complete responses. We analyzed the survey data quantitatively using different statistical approaches, including ANOVA, Independent Sample t-Test, and Binary Logistic Regression. Our findings provided insights into one main research question: “How did the changes in student visa regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic affect the anxiety and depression levels among international students at UF?” A total of 18.8% (n= 31) of our study sample described symptoms consistent with a moderately severe to severe depressive status, according to the widely used Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 scale. A similar proportion of our study sample (20.6%; n= 34) scored in the high range of the General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)-7 scale, which indicates symptoms consistent with severe anxiety. Our findings also showed a statistically significant difference in depression and anxiety scores based on gender, where males showed lower scores compared to other demographic groups.
Conceptualizing and Measuring Community Recovery From Disasters
Communities are made up of social systems that depend on the built environment. Disaster-related impacts to essential infrastructure systems, such as water and power, can have significant consequences for housing, livelihoods, healthcare, education, and overall well-being. However, uncertainty exists about the relation between long-term community recovery from hazards such as hurricanes and the functions provided by social institutions (e.g., businesses, schools, hospitals). This poster presents research on the impacts to and recovery of communities following disasters. Leveraging combined engineering-social science methodologies, we seek to examine the recovery trajectories of communities and identify the underlying characteristics and conditions associated with recovery. This work will support the ability of communities to withstand, respond to, and recover from the destructive impacts of disasters by recommending community resilience metrics and guidance on recovery actions for communities that support prioritization within different phases of the disaster event.
Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Floods, Displacements, and Corrupt Institutions
Flooding, droughts, and other climate conditions in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast, have worsened over time due to climate change. In this poster, I identify the major factors that prevented Abidjan from recovering from major floods in 2018. I argue that the lack of institutional preparedness and planned response at the local and national levels hampered Abidjan’s response and recovery efforts. This ineffectiveness caused displacements of people to inland regions, economic suffering of families relying on family businesses, and disruptions to its social networks, affecting the city’s overall social capital. For this study, I conducted 20 interviews with representatives from local, national, and international institutions who were involved in different responses to flooding. The goal was to pursue an interdisciplinary model that looks at the institutional response and identifies areas for improvement. Next, using ArcGIS mapping tool, I mapped flood vulnerability indicators for each neighborhood and borough in Abidjan. Lastly, I used the Flood Resilience Index (FRI) to conduct an analysis of the overall qualitative resilience of Abidjan based on existing qualitative indicators. My findings suggest that international organizations were more effective than local and national institutions at assisting recovery efforts in Abidjan, although it was not enough to counteract the lack of preparedness and inefficiency in Abidjan’s recovery process.
Nepantla: Defying Notions of Vulnerability and Resiliency During COVID-19—An Autoethnographic Approach
Traditionally in the disaster field, the term vulnerability has been associated with the susceptibility of people or systems to damage or harm. Whereas resilience, in both research and practice, has been framed as a measure of the ability to absorb change and still persist. Within these frames, those who are deemed vulnerable are often perceived as unable to simultaneously be resilient. Through an autoethnographic approach, I explore how vulnerability and resiliency are being experienced simultaneously during the COVID-19 pandemic in Reynosa, Mexico through individual agency. Here, I analyze how structural violence drives vulnerability in the borderlands for people whose mestiza identity supports pro-social behavior and radical solidarity as collective coping mechanisms that, in turn, fuel resilience against that same structural violence. In navigating the complex realities of structural violence, identity, and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic through an autoethnographic lens, this work enables new insights into resilience and vulnerability theory that are important to the geographic and spiritual borderland spaces that encompass these intersectional lives, and which create a nepantlism—an in-betweenness. The borderlands, where mestiza identity is created, are complex political, economic, social, and cultural spaces where phenomena tend to collide and create their own consciousness that result in unique experiences for those who live there. By exploring the unique ways in which people in these spaces experience life during the pandemic, I work to expand our understanding of vulnerability and resilience as concepts that must be analyzed as simultaneous functions in people’s lives during disasters.
Disaster Debris Removal and Quantification: A Case Study Following Hurricane Harvey
Natural disasters generate tremendous amounts of debris that negatively impact communities and overwhelm waste management infrastructure. Reasonable debris forecasts and estimates are critical to anticipate the management and disposal needs of a community following a disaster. However, detailed post-disaster waste data is often unavailable. In this study, we collected a novel set of post-disaster waste data in Beaumont, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey. The data set included debris tonnages and coordinate locations of each occurrence of debris removal in residential areas. We examined the factors that influenced debris generation, the amount of debris generated, and how those amounts compared to estimates from standard debris forecasting and estimation methods. The study found that elevation and proximity to flooding hazards played a significant role in the type of flooding experienced, and, in turn, the amount of debris generated. Areas in Beaumont that experienced inundation from river flooding rather than strictly urban flooding had higher water depths in homes and generated greater amounts of debris. The debris generated was overpredicted by standard debris forecasting and estimation methods. However, current forecasting and estimation methods are not meant to estimate debris from urban flooding. Urban flooding is an increasingly prevalent issue in many areas following a natural disaster and forecasting and estimation methods that consider urban flooding should be developed.
How Stakeholder Interdependencies Affect Household Decision-Making About Post-Disaster Relocation in Puerto Rico
Post-disaster relocation follows a complex path that involves dynamic stakeholder decisions. The existing literature on relocation often ignores how household relocation decisions depend on other households, businesses, and non-profit organizations. A more holistic approach is required to understand the distinct roles of stakeholders and the broader context of their influence on each other in relocation, especially in marginalized communities. This poster is based upon research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which examines the factors that influence the relocation decisions of households and their dependence on businesses and nonprofits. The study focuses on the underserved communities of Puerto Rico, an area characterized by informal practices and constantly changing formal institutions. After Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, the government launched the Home Repair, Reconstruction, or Relocation (R3) Program to provide housing assistance to over 250,000 impacted homeowners. We conducted an in-person survey of 300 households in Comerío and Loíza, Puerto Rico. The survey asked respondents about their perceptions and decisions regarding relocation and recovery, their participation in the R3 program, the damage to their housing, their risk perceptions, and their interactions with other households, businesses, and nonprofits. Study findings will help improve our understanding of the types of decisions households make in the context of changing policy conditions and in relation to other community stakeholders. The results will also contribute to better relocation policymaking by identifying ways in which current policies reflect or do not reflect community perspectives on relocation.
Common Operational Pictures (COP) in Coordinated Disaster Preparedness Planning in Japan
Common Operational Pictures (COP) are essential to disaster preparedness. In Japan, local governments are responsible for developing disaster response plans and for working together in regional units to comprehensively coordinate disaster preparedness efforts. Establishing COP with all local governments and stakeholders is necessary to improve coordinated disaster preparedness and response. In this poster we describe a case study we conducted in the Nishi-Mikawa region, Aichi prefecture, of the effect of the establishment of COP in the pre-disaster stage. We evaluated whether including COP in the revising process of the disaster response plan in local governments improved initial response. To conduct the case study, we followed the following steps: First, we applied Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping in a disaster preparedness workshop. Next, we proposed three stages for regional coordination with COP: (1) Sharing of issues, (2) Agreement on the policy and strategy of the initiative, and (3) Specific consultation. Our case study showed that it was necessary for regional comprehensive coordination to execute the three stages while reviewing them one by one. As a result, we recommend that the disaster response plans of each local government be revised by going through the three stages of regional comprehensive coordination.
Communicating Flood Risk by Connecting Infrastructure Elevations to Real-Time Streamgage Data
While the availability of hazards-related data continues to increase, we face the growing challenge of providing real-world context to make that data understandable and actionable. A new data collection and contextualization initiative by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seeks to provide an accessible, understandable way to convey immediate flood risk and flood hazards by showing locations where flooding may be occurring or soon to occur.
The USGS has over 10,000 streamgages across the United States and its territories. This poster describes a pilot study at select streamgages to survey the height of nearby critical safety or infrastructure features—such as streambanks, roads, bridges, facilities, and pedestrian paths—that may be vulnerable to flood impacts. These features, called Flood Impact Locations, are associated with a nearby USGS streamgage. When the real-time gage height exceeds the surveyed elevation of a Flood Impact Location, that feature is flagged. On the USGS Real-Time Flood Impact Map (pilot), an icon is displayed to alert users that the feature may be flooded. A pop-up displays the current gage height and the Flood Impact Location height, so users can see how close that feature’s elevation is to the current water level. A hydrograph and measurement time stamp is also available so users can see how the stream is responding and if the reported data is current. The USGS is currently assessing operationalization and conducting quality assurance on the data collection and dissemination of flood-impact location measurements.
Human Activity and Mobility Data Reveal Disparities in Exposure Risk Reduction
Non-pharmacologic interventions (NPIs) promote protective actions to lessen exposure risk to COVID-19 by reducing mobility patterns. However, there is a limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms associated with reducing mobility patterns especially for socially vulnerable populations. This poster describes research that examined two distinct and complementary datasets at a granular scale for five urban locations. Through exploratory analysis of networks, statistics, and spatial clustering, the research extensively investigates the exposure risk reduction after the implementation of NPIs to socially vulnerable populations, specifically lower-income and non-white populations. The mobility dataset tracks population movement across ZIP codes for an origin-destination network analysis. The population activity dataset uses the visits from census block groups to points-of-interest (POIs) for network analysis of population-facilities interactions. The mobility dataset originates from a collaboration with StreetLight Data, a company focusing on transportation analytics, whereas the population activity dataset originates from a collaboration with SafeGraph, a company focusing on POI data. Both datasets indicated that low-income and non-white populations faced higher exposure risk. These findings can assist emergency planners and public health officials in comprehending how different populations are able to implement protective actions and it can inform more equitable and data-driven NPI policies for future epidemics.
Disaster Capitalism and the Myth of Returning to Normal During COVID-19
Disaster recovery often aims to assist civilians in returning “back to normal” after a catastrophic event, yet burgeoning and static structural barriers may prevent this. While echoes of this sentiment have been heard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a “new normal” has befallen us, laying bare the effects of disaster capitalism on vulnerable populations. Disaster capitalism consists of actions taken by private interests to exploit a region or individuals and gain wealth at the detriment of others. The mythology of getting back to normal is revealed through wealth inequalities which have widened throughout the pandemic and incites cause for investigation into which groups have profited most from these turbulent times. “Essential workers” are disproportionately people of color and they have served on the front lines of the pandemic, one of the reasons why nonwhites have suffered much higher COVID-19 mortality rates. The racial disparities in mortality and wealth, already large before 2020, are compounded by it and the farce of an approaching homeostasis. To combat this, our perception of society within and beyond a global pandemic calls for action against the systemic roots of disaster capitalism that encourage the disposability of people due to risks that incite vulnerability. The continuing losses from the COVID-19 pandemic ensures that there will be little recognizable social terrain for us to return to due to disaster capitalism. This poster will include an overview of how the pandemic is linked with disaster capitalism, using specific examples from media, news, and preliminary content analyses of these sources.
CONVERGE Training Modules: Free Education for Hazards and Disaster Researchers and Practitioners
The National Science Foundation-supported CONVERGE facility at the Natural Hazards Center has developed a series of free online modules to train hazards and disaster researchers and practitioners, with an emphasis on students and others new to the field. Since July 2019, CONVERGE has released 10 training modules on the following topics: (1) social vulnerability and disasters, (2) disaster mental health, (3) cultural competence, (4) Institutional Review Board procedures, (5) conducting emotionally challenging research, (6) gender-based violence in fieldwork, (7) broader ethical considerations, (8) collecting perishable data, (9) reciprocity in research, and (10) public health implications of hazards and disaster research. Each module features learning objectives, interactive case studies and sliders, and links to additional resources, such as standardized measures, datasets, checklists, and tools. Users who successfully complete the quiz at the end of the module receive a certificate, which is worth one contact hour of general management training through the International Association of Emergency Managers certification program. Annotated bibliographies that summarize the literature used to develop the modules are also available. These modules can be used as classroom assignments and a list of sample activities is provided through the CONVERGE Assignment Bank. This poster highlights the training modules that have already been released, as well as user background characteristics of the more than 5,000 module registrants. These training modules are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Exploring the Juxtaposition in Mental Health Outcomes Between Disaster and Non-Disaster Volunteers
Volunteering is woven within the social fabric of American society and helps communities provide critical resources and services to residents in need. Studies show that volunteerism results in positive mental health outcomes and a sense of wellbeing for volunteers by reducing isolation, encouraging positive social engagement, increasing feelings of mastery and self-esteem, and developing supportive relationships. However, the positive association between volunteerism and mental health does not hold in the case of disaster volunteers. In fact, disaster volunteers have higher adverse mental health impacts than professional responders and disaster survivors. Using the Stress Process Theory model, this poster connects previously distinct and separate literature from medical sociology, volunteer management, and disaster science to better understand the similarities and differences in mental health outcomes between disaster and non-disaster volunteers. The poster will also outline a future research agenda to close existing gaps in knowledge related to disaster volunteer management and mental health and identify the policy implications of this effort.
Road Criticality and Resource Redundancy Mapping in Delaware Coastal Community
Economic activity depends on the transportation network as it allows the movement of goods and people. Our transportation infrastructure network faces growing challenges from natural hazards. Damage to communities escalates when flooding impedes their access to critical facilities, particularly among those who are already at risk. This study identifies key criteria for future prioritization of resources using a robust component-based network analysis method. Aiming for an equitable community, we map the critical roads which provide people access to emergency facilities such as hospitals. This poster describes a case study of resource inequities in the road network in Delaware. Our study mapped resource redundancy disparities in communities across the network. We developed accessibility maps before flooding and after projected future flooding using the flood risk maps. Furthermore, we took human mobility patterns into account when assessing access to critical facilities and the flood depth to identify inundated roads. Managers of critical infrastructure can use the results of this study to prioritize asset allocation for risk mitigation. It will also guide future investments and help identify roads with higher maintenance requirements for prolonged access to critical facilities because of climate change.
Life in COVID: Experiences and Mobilities of Children, Youth, and Older Adults
This poster describes a multi-year, multi-method study which examined the experiences of older adults (ages 65 and older), youth (12-18), and children (5-11) in the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in April 2020, our interdisciplinary research team has focused on the intersections of social vulnerability and resilience at critical periods of the life course. We utilized the following methods: (1) journals, allowing participants to write daily in their own words about their experiences in the pandemic, (2) one-on-one interviews, providing the opportunity to actively listen and follow up with our participants, (3) surveys, including two rounds of data collection with an online survey, and (4) small focus groups to encourage dialogue, discussion, and support. The poster summarizes our preliminary results and analysis, which includes data from 25 interviews, five focus groups, journal entries from 20 participants, and 200 survey responses. Moving forward the project will continue with the four original methods and include school-based workshops and podcasts. In addition to the children, youth, and older adults, we are collecting data from representatives of community-based organizations who have worked directly with these populations during this disaster, to understand their perspectives on the challenges faced, and how they have supported these groups. These stakeholders include directors of aging agencies, school directors, and other specialists. Early results emphasize the heterogeneity of experiences, including increased isolation, engaging in helping behaviors, greater use of local outdoor public spaces, challenges related to food access, changes to intergenerational interactions, and the use of a wide range of coping strategies.
Environmental Justice for Equitable Birth Outcomes: Disasters, Displacement and Human Services
As the number and intensity of disasters increase in the United States, emergency managers are ill-prepared to manage maternal and infant care, especially among marginalized people. The Mom and Baby Action Network is an environmental justice group which is examining the scope of disasters’ impact on birthing people and babies focusing on displacement, stress, and access to human services.
Disasters’ impact on health can extend long after the event and into subsequent generations. Individuals exposed to disasters during pregnancy are predisposed to chronic disease. Legacies of redlining and structural racism, as well as ongoing underinvestment in infrastructure, mean that disasters have an outsized impact on oppressed communities. There is an urgent need to support communities of color because they are disproportionately exposed to disasters. Additionally, disrupted systems during disasters increase the likelihood that individuals will experience stress, adverse mental health outcomes, and behavioral changes like smoking and substance abuse, poor nutrition, physical overexertion and/or limited activity, and reduction in breastfeeding. Studies suggest a link between disasters and complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weights. Moreover, infants and parents are at risk for environmental threats associated with disasters such as mold exposure or wildfire smoke. Creating a safe community where families can thrive requires us to acknowledge and address the harmful impact of climate change and environmental hazards. This poster is a call to action to institutions and governments to dismantle unjust systems and affirm the right of all infants to a brighter future.
Locked In, Locked Out, Locked Down: COVID-19 in English and Welsh Prisons
The fate of prisoners in disaster has received little consideration within science, policy or practice. The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to study the experience of prisoners during disaster. Pre-COVID realities and vulnerabilities put prison populations in England and Wales at higher risk for the health and transmission risks associated with COVID-19. As a result, the English and Welsh prison estate implemented public health strategies, prison regime changes, prison population management, and compensatory strategies to attend to the health, transmission, and aggregated risks associated with COVID-19. Utilizing content analysis of multiple secondary sources of publicly available information, this poster describes how the COVID-19 response drastically altered the experience of everyday life in prison. As such, the COVID-19 procedures implemented in prisons hampered prisoners’ ability to meet their basic needs and maintain personal hygiene. Our study showed the health and wellbeing of prisoners deteriorated, similar to declines reported by prisoners in solitary confinement. The COVID-19 response also contributed to fluctuations within prisoners’ relationships and resulted in an experience of persistent precarity. This reveals the COVID-19 response intensified and extended pre-COVID “pains of imprisonment,” detrimentally leading to a “deepening” and “tightening” of the experience of imprisonment. This poster concludes by proposing recommendations for future disaster risk reduction policy and practice within prisons.
Human-Animal Interactions and Disaster: A Systematic Literature Review
Human-animal interactions (HAIs) are dramatically altered by the catastrophic impacts of extreme events. In hazards and disaster settings, HAIs shape disaster efforts, resulting in increased danger to individuals, their families, and communities. Despite the inextricable link between HAI and disasters, research examining the impacts of disaster settings on HAI lacks synthesis, allowing findings to lay dormant and underutilized across disaster stages. This systematic review employs the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach to comprehensively assess HAI and disaster literature, detecting publication trends and identifying predominant research themes across this rapidly expanding area. The results yield insights into the main hazards, disaster stages, and animal types, as well as highlighting prominent themes including health and social benefits associated with human-animal bonds (HABs). With disasters on the rise, it is essential to develop best practices and policies across disaster stages that account for the wide variety of HAIs and HABs, providing essential guidance in unpredictable times. This synthesis provides a foundational understanding of the current research into HAI in disaster settings, including directions for future research and development of practice and policy.
Mapping Physical, Socioeconomic, and Demographic Wildfire Risks in California
Wildfire is a natural hazard caused mostly by the interaction of human systems and natural phenomena. This poster describes socio-economic and demographic analyses of census tracts and counties in California that have experienced extreme wildfire events and disasters in recent decades. In addition, it uses historical wildfire data to show counties which are vulnerable to the hazard as well as the seasonal and annual fluctuations in the previous fire occurrences in the state. It brings these data sets together using a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis, which is designed to collect, analyze, query, and display geographical information. We used two types of secondary data to conduct the research: (1) Geospatial data showing each location of wildfires. (2) Sociodemographic data such as race, ethnicity, level of education, and income, which were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. Next, we conducted the GIS-based spatial analysis to create maps that overlay the geographic locations of the wildfires with demographic and socioeconomic risk factors for wildfires.
Geospatial Modeling of Shoreline Movement in the Meghna River Region in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has some of the highest rates of coastal erosion in the world. Coastal erosion in the region is already associated with the loss of housing, land, and livelihoods and it is predicted to increase in the future. This poster describes an assessment of historical shoreline movement dynamics in the lower Meghna River region of Bangladesh. Using multi-temporal Landsat imagery from 1990 to 2020, the study quantified the rate of decadal shoreline movement for the years 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2020. The End Point Rate, Linear Regression Rate, and Weighted Linear Regression were used to quantify the erosion rate. Our results revealed that over the last three decades, this region experienced extreme erosion. Among the regions studied, the North and South regions experienced dominant erosion while the central region had dominant accretion. Our decadal analysis suggested that the highest rate of erosion was in the 2010s. Among the regions, the central region had the highest accretion rate in the 1990s whereas the south region experienced the highest rate of erosion in the last decade. We believe that the findings from this study will be helpful for policy makers in managing and developing associated mitigation and adaptation strategies for this part of the coast in Bangladesh.
Understanding Mental Health Challenges Following Hurricane Harvey
In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and triggered myriad mental health challenges among the survivors. Homes were destroyed, utility services were disrupted, and other critical services were inaccessible. The hurricane also caused adverse mental health outcomes for the thousands of Texas residents. As the frequency and intensity of hurricanes are increasing, the mental health impacts of these events need to be taken into account for future hurricane preparedness efforts. This poster describes a study of the key risk factors that are associated with escalating mental health challenges after a major hurricane. For our analysis, we collected household survey responses (n= 780) from Texas residents of the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. Respondents were asked about their socio-demographic background, hurricane damages, utility disruptions and mental health. We applied multivariate regression models to identify both the determining and mitigating factors regarding mental health outcomes following Hurricane Harvey. Our empirical findings revealed that people who were younger and who had higher disruption of phone and hospital services were more likely to experience mental health challenges. Additionally, people who had higher hurricane damages and did not receive adequate mental health counseling also experienced adverse mental health outcomes. This research provides decision makers with insights into how to prioritize their resources to help address the mental health impacts following hurricanes. Moreover, the findings suggest other social and clinical interventions which could be implemented to mitigate adverse mental health outcomes during future hurricanes.
Lessons Learned from 2020-2021 Extreme Events: Recommendations for Sustainable Disaster Debris Management
We have been witnessing an increasing number of natural and anthropogenic disaster events in recent years due in part to the intensifying effects of global climate change and other man-made accidents. An inevitable byproduct of any disaster event is the debris generated, the management of which is considered one of the major challenges during post-disaster recovery due to the overwhelming volume of the debris materials. Without proper management and planning, disaster debris can have adverse effects on affected communities and the environment. In an effort to address these critical problems in a sustainable manner (i.e., via promoting recycling and reuse), the SUstainable Material Management Extreme Events Reconnaissance (SUMMEER) organization was established with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation. In this poster presentation, we describe SUMMEER’s experience responding to several recent extreme disaster events, namely, the 2020 Midland, Michigan Floods; the March 2020 Tennessee Tornadoes; Hurricane Laura in 2020; the Florida Surfside Building Collapse in 2021; and Hurricane Ida in 2021. Moreover, we identify factors which enable or impede sustainable debris management practices for each event based on existing pre-incident planning and preparedness efforts, availability of debris recycling infrastructure, and post-disaster governing conditions, among others. The findings from these investigations led us to develop several recommendations for policymakers which will promote and facilitate future debris recycling and reuse efforts.
Factors Associated With Duration of Power Outages Due to Hurricanes
Landfall, sustained winds, and excessive precipitation during hurricanes can cause disruptions to critical services and infrastructure systems including power outages, disruption to water supply systems, wastewater management problems, telecommunication failures, or transportation barriers. Disruptions in electricity service have a wide-ranging negative impact on every aspect of social life, such as financial, business, education, medical services, recreation, and so on. In this poster we describe our study which introduced a new approach to investigating the factors associated with longer times for restoring power after a hurricane. We considered three types of factors—hazard variables, built environment characteristics, and socio-demographic factors—that may contribute to longer restoration times during a hurricane. Using county-level data for Hurricane Irma in Florida, a Generalized Accelerated Failure Time model has been estimated considering restoration time as the dependent variable. We have found that factors such as maximum sustained wind speed, percentage of customers facing power outage, and percentage of customers served by investor-owned power company were strongly correlated with restoration time. This study will help estimate the restoration time after a hurricane allowing emergency management agencies to properly manage the restoration process, and to adopt strategies to mitigate the consequences caused by power outage.
Application of Rainfall-Runoff Method in Small Streams of Korea
Due to climate change, the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events has increased, causing more severe damage to small stream watersheds. As a result, there is a need for more accurate flood prediction methods in small stream contexts. But small streams have a few gauging stations to collect hydraulic data such as water surface elevation and discharge due to difficulties in finding safety sites and downstream oriented flood management strategies. To enhance the prediction accuracy of flood discharges in small streams, the National Disaster Management Institute in Korea deployed the Automatic Discharge Measurement Technology, which uses closed circuit television cameras, across small streams in the country. This poster describes a study which collected measured hydraulics data from three small stream sites: Neungmak in Yongin-si, Unchon in Yeoju-si, and Jungseonpil in Ulju-gun. The study applied the Clark unit hydrograph method, which is widely used for comprehensive planning, to estimate flood discharge in small streams and compare the results with data measured in four small streams. The results showed that the Clark method overestimates the measured discharges in all sites but it may be used in planning for flood safety.
Vulnerability of Opioid Treatment Facilities to Flooding in Harris County, Texas
Medication treatment (MT) offers an evidence-based strategy to combat the raging opioid epidemic in the United States. Disasters, however, can interrupt patients’ access to care, especially when treatment facilities are damaged. Harris County, Texas, is located in the U.S. Gulf Coast and is vulnerable to severe hurricanes and flooding. To date, the flood vulnerability of MT facilities in Harris County is not known. This poster describes a study which estimated the proportion of MT facilities located in high-risk flood zones in Harris County and the proportion of MT facilities which flooded during Hurricane Harvey. We geocoded the locations of MT facilities using ArcGIS Online. Next, we overlaid the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Map to assess the flood risk of each facility. Then, we overlaid Hurricane Harvey’s inundation map to estimate the proportion of the facilities inundated after the hurricane. There were 14 MT facilities in Harris County, serving a total of 2,947 MT patients. Seven percent of the facilities were in a high-risk flood zone and 93% were located in low to moderate-risk flood zones. Hurricane Harvey inundated 7.1% of the facilities, while 61.5 were within a kilometer of an inundation area. With a quarter of Harris County within a 100-year floodplain and the projected increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes, measures must be taken to enhance protections and strengthen MT facilities during hurricanes.
Are Vulnerable Populations Left Out of Federal Flood Risk Mitigation Efforts?
Discriminatory development policies have systematically relegated certain populations to undesirable locations including areas at risk of flooding. As the climate changes, many properties will no longer be inhabitable and others, especially houses in floodplains, will suffer damage due to more frequent and significant flooding. Current U.S. federal policy funds flood risk mitigation measures, such as property acquisition, relocation, and retrofitting. However, depending on various factors at the sub-county level, these programs can disproportionately benefit high income, majority white communities. Vulnerable communities, on the other hand, are less likely to receive support. In this poster, we build on existing research on programmatic wide and event specific analysis to explore patterns that may be of interest specifically to state and county decision makers. We evaluated claims data from the National Flood Insurance Program and Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration from 1975-2019 as well Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation efforts from 1989-2018 at the state, county, and census tract level in North and South Carolina. Next, we analyzed the distribution of mitigation measures by racial disproportionalities (for example, majority non-white census tracts in majority white counties). Our poster will describe the results.
Modeling Household Hazard Adjustment Intentions to Tornados and Techna Earthquakes in Oklahoma
While Oklahoma is generally known for meteorological hazards, seismic activity increased exponentially across the state starting in 2015 as a byproduct of oil and gas exploration. The growing potential for significant earthquakes has combined with residents’ limited experience with this hazard and the state’s lack of seismic construction standards to create considerable risk for Oklahomans. Much of the existing hazard adjustment literature has focused on drivers of individual-level adoption of adjustment measures for natural events and risk perceptions related to technological events, whereas induced seismicity in Oklahoma presents a unique opportunity to study a phenomenon that exists in between this established dichotomy. Building on the foundation provided by the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT), this study expands on past studies by exploring how additional factors such as qualitative characteristics of the hazard, political ideology, and oil entanglements shape threat appraisals, coping appraisals, and adjustment intentions in response to tornados and techna earthquakes. This study uses data collected from households (N=866) across 27 counties in Oklahoma that have experienced varying levels of seismic activity resulting from oil and gas exploration. Correlation analyses and structural equation modeling show differences across hazard types and that several variables not included in the original PMT, such as feelings of dread or negative emotions associated with earthquakes, are important predictors of intentions to adopt hazard adjustments. This study concludes with an enhanced PMT model that can help guide future risk management in identifying and taking appropriate actions that will stimulate precautionary behavior of private actors.
Climate Change, Adaptation, and Environmental Extremism: A Resilient Perspective
Climate change and global warming are humanity's current and future challenges. However, these risks must not only be understood in terms of their specific scope of negative effects, but also explored for their interdependencies with affected societies and at-risk social groups. It is also essential to investigate extreme responses to climate change, namely eco-terrorism and environmental extremism. These two phenomena are certainly not new, but their evolution in today's world, especially after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, requires greater attention to the social impacts and any social tensions they may develop. In particular, the world hit first by climate change and then by the COVID-19 pandemic has seen the emergence of profound situations of social vulnerability, of difficulty in accessing energy resources, including alternative ones, and of environmental and climate justice. The purpose of this poster is to investigate the relationship between climate change, social changes due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and current forms of eco-terrorism and environmental extremism. In fact, it is believed that this research activity can inform policies and best practices related to adaptation, social equity, and resilient response to these specific forms of complex risk. The perspective of analysis will be primarily sociological and transnational case studies will be presented.
Multidisciplinary Research Methods for Building People-Centered Multi-Hazard Warning Systems
Disasters are complex socio-environmental problems which result from the intersection of social vulnerabilities and natural hazard events. In this poster, we outline a call for multidisciplinary methods and translation research to support disaster risk management research and policies. The International Science Council, the International Social Science Council, and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction have launched the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk program to foster dialogue between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers and enhance the mechanisms for public policy formulation. Our research responds to the United Nation’s call for building people-centered multi-hazard warning systems. We will use multidisciplinary methods to investigate multi-hazard warning systems for floods, landslides, and droughts and improve their usefulness for affected populations. This research is being developed in partnership with the National Early Warning and Monitoring Center of Natural Hazards in Brazil and the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. We welcome other scholars and practitioners interested in multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to join us.
Risk Education for All: Methods and Applications for Developing a Risk-Literate Society
As society is faced with increasingly complex and uncertainty-laden decisions, risk literacy is increasingly becoming a necessity for everyday life. Risk education represents a unique opportunity to address this need from the ground up. A risk education curriculum can be crafted to supplement traditional curriculum standards at various education levels by relying on well-established pedagogical approaches to equip students with the necessary skills for sound decision-making. In this poster, we discuss a set of modules we have designed to introduce risk concepts to secondary school students in units covering topics related to regional natural hazards. We review best practices for implementing risk education in the classroom. Furthermore, we discuss the potential applications of risk education for other audiences.
Redlined Neighborhoods Overlapping with Urban Heat Islands in El Paso, Texas
Urban heat islands (UHIs) are caused by differences in terrestrial albedo, and result in elevated temperatures within cities. These higher temperatures can cause adverse health outcomes in individuals. Some neighborhoods within each city experience extreme heat more frequently due to environmental factors and existing infrastructure. These hotter neighborhoods are more likely to be populated by residents with low incomes or by people of color. This poster describes a spatial analysis of the relationship between historical redlining by the U.S. federal government’s Home Owners' Loan Corporation and urban land surface temperature anomalies in El Paso, Texas. The aim of this study was to answer the following questions: (a) What is the relationship between historically redlined neighborhoods and current UHI patterns? (b) How can the negative effects of UHI be lessened in the marginalized neighborhoods? The spatial analysis conducted for the city of El Paso, Texas, used land surface temperature (LST) estimation derived from Landsat 7 imagery and raster calculations of layers via ArcGIS. Subsequently, it compared the temperature results across neighborhoods using four categories of redlining maps. The study revealed that historic housing policies, along with some unsustainable development patterns, have contributed to disproportionate exposure to severe heat events in marginalized neighborhoods. We also developed a conceptual environmental justice framework to theorize urban climate change and adaptation as a means of heat mitigation.
Stakeholder Participation in Crisis Decision-Making in Higher Education During COVID-19
Many organizations across the United States were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including institutions of higher education. Campus leaders needed to make decisions about closing campuses, increasing financial constraints, shifts in research, and changing class modalities. Research shows that one preferred method for making decisions during an organizational crisis is using teams of decision makers, although there has been little research focused on the composition of these teams. This poster describes a study which investigated the prevalence and composition of crisis decision-making teams at institutions of higher education. Special attention was focused on the inclusion of specific stakeholders, such as faculty, staff, and students, as part of the teams. The research questioned if these stakeholders were included as part of the team, and if specific institutional characteristics influenced the composition. The results will provide new understanding into the decision-making process during a crisis.
How Long-Term Recovery Organizations Address Post-Wildfire Health Needs: A Qualitative Study
Wildfire activity in the United States has increased in intensity and duration over the past several decades, with over 10.1 million acres burned by wildfires in 2020 alone. Beyond the direct impacts to human health, wildfires have massive economic and social consequences that can reverberate throughout impacted communities for years, disrupting myriad social determinants of health. These factors indicate that understanding what constitutes an effective community recovery process after a wildfire, as well as barriers and facilitators to implementing that process, is of critical importance. Increasingly, long-term recovery organizations (LTROs) are developed following wildfires to coordinate the community recovery process, particularly in rural communities where social service delivery infrastructure may be limited even pre-disaster. This poster describes a qualitative study of the barriers and facilitators affecting the ability of LTROs to address rural community health needs after a wildfire disaster through a health equity lens. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with current and former LTRO leaders serving rural communities in Washington, Oregon, and California impacted by a wildfire disaster between 2015-2020. Findings from these interviews elucidate common barriers and facilitators to LTROs’ community recovery work, the degree to which these barriers and facilitators occur at the organizational, community, or societal level, and how and why intra-community inequities to LTRO-facilitated recovery resources occur. This research contributes to a foundational understanding of the factors impacting LTROs’ ability to address rural communities’ post-wildfire health needs and highlights the need for further research into determinants of an effective post-disaster recovery process more generally.
Messaging the Threat: Forecaster Difficulties Prioritizing Compound Hazards During Hurricane Florence
Hurricanes effect on communities depend on storm characteristics, geography, and demographic and cultural factors. Risks to people in the path of these storms are compounded when hazards like strong winds, storm surge, flooding, and tornadoes co-occur. For National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters, whose responsibility is to issue alerts that “protect life and property,” messaging these evolving, co-occurring threats pose many challenges, including how to prioritize the most urgent threats within warnings and other public messages. This poster describes research on Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in September 2018 as a Category 1 hurricane and presented multiple hazards. First forecasted to come ashore as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, NWS initially expected the winds to pose the greatest danger. However, as Florence approached land, its category decreased and its track slowed, which shifted the most significant threat to flooding. Through inductive qualitative analysis of 34 semi-structured interviews with NWS forecasters responsible for issuing alerts during Hurricane Florence, this research analyzes the intricacies of messaging these evolving, compound threats. Analysis showed that forecasters aimed to amplify messaging for flood threats over wind threats during Florence, yet they expressed concern that this shift was not grasped by the public. One reason cited was the use of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale for communicating the severity of hurricanes.
Living With the Risks: Adjacent Relocation and Newcomers in Kesennuma, Japan
Retreat and relocation would be one of the mitigation options in disaster-prone areas, though most of the migration literature illustrated its complexity, friction between deep-rooted place attachment, and inequality attributed to program design in the post-disaster phase. Coastal communities in Japan implemented group relocation and retreat from the coastal line due to the catastrophic events in 2011. The relocation program played a critical role in minimizing exposure to tsunami risks, while some relocation sites are under updated flood zones. Such low-lying areas far from the coast attract not only survivors but also newcomers from other municipalities. This poster is based on research which examined the following questions: (a) What are the characteristics of people who migrated to the flood zone? and (b) How do newcomers (first generation to the city) differ from migrants within the city? This poster describes the results of a survey of residents (N=4,370) in Kesennuma, Japan, the city with the third-highest death toll in the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami event. Analysis using Pearson's chi-square test showed that one-fourth of the newcomers (n=177) settled in the flood zone, and that 91% were renters and relatively younger but had higher awareness of flooding in terms of preparedness of evacuation. On the other hand, among migrants within the city (n=1,082), 19.5% had relocated from areas impacted by the tsunami to the flood-zone, 50% were homeowners, and 64% were over 60 years old.
Access to Critical Facilities and Disparities, an Empirical Study After Hurricane Harvey
Equity is a concept increasingly used in urban resilience. In the disaster contexts, disparities in access to critical infrastructure or essential facilities is one way to assess equity outcomes. Some examples are access to health care facilities or grocery stores. This poster examines access disparities by analyzing the risk perception and disruptions in access to critical infrastructure and essential facilities. The data for the poster comes from an extensive household survey of 810 participants in Texas, with an oversample of 281 respondents from Harris County. We conducted the survey after Hurricane Harvey with the goal of examining people’s perceptions of the risk for service disruptions, disruptions to services due to a past storm event, and duration in reaching critical infrastructure and facilities usually, and in case of a past storm event. Statistical analysis utilizing the Pearson correlation test and Chi-square test yielded several significant findings. First, access in pre-disaster times influences access during and after the disaster. Second, disparities in access and service disruptions were among vulnerable groups. For example, low-income and ethnically diverse groups experienced a significantly higher loss of access to social services. Other findings showed that low-income and rural populations needed more time to reach health care facilities after a disaster event. The results of this study provide researchers and decision makers with new research questions and suggest potential investments that could lower the risk of vulnerable populations to storm-related natural hazards.
State-Driven Climate Resilience Development in Small Cities and Towns
The increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather and climate events is driving the need for local governments to incorporate climate change impacts into their community development and management plans. In response to this already unfolding threat, some U.S. states have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, policies to drive local climate change resilience. These policies may or may not include financial and technical assistance for local jurisdictions to help them plan and implement actions to withstand climate change impacts. However, state assistance is crucial for small cities and towns who lack the capacity to plan and implement actions for long-term climate resilience. This poster describes a study on the implications of state policies related to local climate resilience development for small cities and towns of Massachusetts and Washington. It includes observations from interviews with municipal staff and consultants. It also presents findings related to key factors that can affect local climate resilience planning in small cities and towns in the two states.
Population Change, Disasters, and Gentrification in Urban America from 2000 to 2017
Gentrification contributes to population growth as reinvestment in vacant properties lead to ever-expanding “gold coasts” of gentrification that spur more return-to-the-city migrants. Disasters, however, often contribute to population decline as severe or repeated disasters motivate people to leave affected areas. To better understand these potentially contrasting dynamics, we perform one of the first national examinations of disaster and gentrification. We paired data from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey from 2000 to 2017 with data from the Spatial Hazards and Events Losses Database on property damages from disasters. We first examined whether disaster damages contributed to population change and found that greater disaster damages in a county in the 1990s or 2000s is linked to population decline in neighborhoods. A further analysis, however, showed that this finding is only valid for non-urban neighborhoods. Next, we examined gentrification in urban neighborhoods and found that population growth is strongly linked to greater likelihood of gentrification but that disaster damages are not. Following this, we introduced a moderating relationship between population and disaster damages. Moderating findings showed that among neighborhoods with a high degree of population growth that disaster damages are negatively associated with gentrification, but that among neighborhoods with population decline that disaster damages are positively associated with gentrification. Implications center on the contingent nature of mechanisms like population change that link disasters to gentrification.
Women and Climate Change Adaptation Policy in Latin America
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that climate change is one of the most significant challenges of our times and acknowledges that this phenomenon undermines the ability to achieve sustainable development. Climate variability has negatively impacted populations around the world. These changes can be slow and almost imperceptible. Others are extreme and abrupt and create extreme natural events that might carry catastrophic results economically, politically, and in terms of lives lost. Gender equity is recognized as essential to mitigating women’s risk from climate change, improving their resilience, decreasing their vulnerability, and creating a more effective and inclusive public policy. Moreover, evidence suggests that women's political participation can promote adoption of policies that address climate change consequences. Previous studies have examined women's representation in Latin America, and how women have shaped environmental social movements and legislation, in the region. . But, little is known about how the political participation and representation of women influences climate change adaptation policy in the region. This poster describes women’s roles and impacts in the formation of climate change adaptation policy in Latin America. Also, it seeks to contribute to theory on public policy processes by performing an analysis through the lens of the Advocacy Coalitions Framework (ACF) with an international comparative approach.
Comparing Geographic Information System-Based Flood Resilience Models in Bangladesh
Floods have a devastating impact on developing nations. The focus of current resilience models is predominantly developed countries. Less is known regarding how they might perform in other contexts. This paper presents a comparative case study in Bangladesh using two established hazard resilience models: the Disaster Resilience of Place (DROP) Model and the Spatially Explicit Resilience-Vulnerability (SERV) model. Using publicly available data, we applied the two respective models at the district level in the context of flooding, the most extensive hazard in Bangladesh. Next, we asked Bangladeshi emergency managers and researchers to evaluate each model for its potential utility and state which model they preferred to use. The emergency managers and researchers differed in their preferences: The emergency managers preferred the SERV model whereas the researchers chose the DROP model. This suggests an opportunity to create a model that would serve the flood resilience needs of both managers and researchers.
A Global Survey of Satellite-Derived Volcanic Sulfur Dioxide Emissions and Heat Flux
Over the past two decades, the availability of satellite measurements of volcanic gas emissions and heat flux has driven the development of new methodologies to improve global-scale volcano monitoring. In this work we aim to explore the relationship between volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and radiant heat flux (RHF) measurements from NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), respectively, to gain insight into their association with volcanic processes and eruption styles. The OMI SO2 emissions data are derived from existing databases, which contain global, passive volcanic SO2 degassing fluxes (PVF) for approximately 90-100 active volcanoes calculated at annual and seasonal intervals from 2005-2019 and 2005-2016, respectively. Volcanoes within the aforementioned SO2 flux datasets with measurable RHF in MODIS data were identified using the University of Hawaii’s near-time thermal monitoring of global hot-spots (MODVOLC) thermal alert system. The MODIS data was then integrated to match the annual and seasonal intervals at which the SO2 fluxes were calculated using the trapezoid rule. We will use this data to build and analyze annual and seasonal time series of over 50 volcanoes with varying types of activity and latitudinal locations. We will then conduct regression analyses for each of the volcanoes to explore the nature of the relationship between SO2 emissions and RHF.
Food Security in Puerto Rican Farm Households After Hurricane Maria: Rethinking Metrics
Puerto Rico has experienced a decline in the number of farms since the 1990s which parallels trends in the broader Caribbean. The islands share characteristics that contribute to their frail food security, including limited land masses, small economies, isolation, and embeddedness in neocolonial dynamics. The aftermath of the 2017 category 4 Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico made evident that the local food system can be a secure source of food (and livelihood support) when importation is challenging. Understanding farmers’ adaptive capacity is one of the many important elements to safeguard local food systems, and to better comprehend social-ecological interactions in a disaster context. This study combined survey data from 405 farmers (87% response rate), collected by agricultural agents of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez’s Extension Service, with biophysical data of Hurricane Maria (precipitation, landslides, and wind), to examine farmer households’ food security through a social-ecological lens. Overall, 69% of households experienced at least one month where they struggled to acquire food or faced a shortage. More than one-third of farmers (38%) reported three months or more of persistent food insecurity, while 31% reported one- or two-months of temporary food insecurity. A multinomial logistic regression suggested that biophysical impacts, but especially social factors, such as constrained access to external sources of support, were linked with persistent food insecurity. There were also significant differences based on farm size, location, and proximity to Maria’s track. Results catalyze a needed conversation in food security metrics in island and disaster contexts.
Predicting Mental Health Impacts of Floods
The purpose of this study is to develop a method for estimating the mental health impacts of floods. Floods can damage critical infrastructure systems, disrupt essential community services, and damage homes. The trauma caused by these impacts can also result in adverse impacts to people’s mental health. The economic costs associated with mental health disorders in the United States exceed $300 billion annually, however, because planners lack tools to quantify them, the mental health impacts of floods are not considered in cost-benefit analyses of flood risk management projects. This poster outlines a methodology for extending flood risk assessments produced in HAZUS 5.0, a well-known hazard risk assessment tool developed by FEMA, to estimate the incidence of mental illness in a flood hazard study area. Logistic regression analysis of data from the RAND Corporation’s Displaced New Orleans Resident Study was used to develop quantitative relationships between individuals’ flood impacts and their likelihood of experiencing depression, PTSD, or psychological distress. These results were combined with residential building damage estimates and demographic data from HAZUS to produce an estimate of the number of cases of mental illness caused by the flood by census block in the study area. Future work includes further data collection to validate the model and asses the generalizability of the analysis and expanding the model to include additional flood impacts and demographic characteristics. This method will allow planners to assess risk reduction benefits of FRM projects more completely and enable them to consider a wider variety of project alternatives.
Disasters and the Other Gender: Viewpoints From the Hijra Community of India
Gender is an evolving concept, going beyond just gender roles, it changes through lived experiences and political struggles across different societies. The binary categorization of men and women, with its Western foundations, has dominated the idea of gender in disaster scholarship. The “add women and stir” approach has resulted in normative policies and frameworks leading to further marginalization of certain sections of society. The Hijra community (oldest ethnic transgender group in India) is one such group that faces the consequences of this mainstream understanding. To address the concerns of these groups in disaster policies and practice requires more than just the inclusion of a demographic variable. Rather, an understanding of the history, culture, politics, social structure, and its intersectionality with multiple identities is also needed. With limited access to education, health services, safe shelter, public programs, and employment, the Hijra face verbal and physical abuse, economic challenges, and health concerns. The 2019 cyclone, Fani, which caused large-scale destruction, exacerbated their vulnerabilities, limiting their ability to cope. The cyclone also showed, however, how the Hijra can contribute to mitigation and adaptation strategies. This poster describes a study which aimed to learn from their lived experiences. Set in Odisha, India, it explores disasters from a queer viewpoint. Juxtaposing the environmental factors with the regional socio-cultural and political conditions, it grapples with the idea of gender justice in Disaster Risk Reduction including Climate Change Adaptation. Thus, unpacking the broad categories of the “vulnerable” to explore diverse contextual realities beyond the West.
Self-Reported Hardship and Travel After Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas
In 2021, Hurricane Ida and Tropical Storm Nicholas, which followed soon after and impacted a similar geographic area, caused major damage in Louisiana and Mississippi. These storms provided an opportunity to examine how longer-term power outages impacted travel and the perception of hardship. This poster describes the results from two cross-sectional surveys of residents in coastal regions of Louisiana and Mississippi following the storms. The purpose of the survey was to identify respondents’ perceived levels of hardship and how they adapted their day-to-day travel (mobility patterns) between Ida and Nicholas and after the two storm events. In total, 1,412 individuals participated in the survey.
Different protective action (evacuate/stay) decisions during the storms led to varying levels of perceived hardship. The study recorded respondents’ evacuation decisions (pre-landfall and post-landfall), the types and duration of utility outages which residents experienced, housing damages, and respondents’ perceived hardships. The analysis showed that 50% of respondents evacuated for Hurricane Ida while 14.5% evacuated for Nicholas. Respondents who evacuated for Nicholas had the highest perceived hardship whereas respondents who evacuated after Ida had slightly lower levels of perceived hardship.
For mobility patterns, both surveys utilized a partial trip diary that requested up to three trips from the most recent workday to unveil respondents’ travel patterns. The preliminary analysis found a statistically significant difference between the average number of trips just after Ida and just after Nicholas. There is also an increase in home-based work trips and a decrease in home-based grocery trips.
Meramec River Flooding in 2015 and 2017: Case Study of Community Perceptions
In 2015 and 2017, parts of St. Louis County, Missouri, were devastated by record flooding along the Meramec River. Despite a culture of resilience due to the history of flooding in the area, these events impacted the cities of Eureka, Valley Park, and Fenton in new and devastating ways. Land development practices in St. Louis County have significantly contributed to the rise in flooding. Understanding the community’s level of awareness regarding the impacts of these land development practices is a crucial step toward increasing resilience to riverine flooding in the region.
This poster describes a study of community perceptions surrounding root causes of and response to the floods. Data was gathered via semi-structured interviews of six community members impacted by the 2015 and 2017 Meramec River floods. Findings suggest those directly impacted by the floods are aware of the negative impact of land development on flooding. However, interviewees believed residents of the region who were not directly affected by flooding do not know the effects of land use policies or do not care.
While this study suggests community members directly impacted have a somewhat accurate understanding of the land development threat to those near the Meramec, further investigation is needed to draw accurate conclusions about the whole population. Understanding the perceptions of the community is a key step in instilling universal desire for a sustainable approach to floodplain management in areas prone to riverine flooding.
Who Gets Federal Financial Resources to Mitigate and Recover From Disasters?
Socially vulnerable communities experience more adverse effects during disasters. Federal grant funding provides these communities opportunities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster. This research examines which types of communities get funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA), Public Assistance (PA), and Individual Assistance (IA) programs at the county-level in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Using regression methods, we predicted relationships between social vulnerability factors at the county-level and FEMA funding. Our data set included the following dependent variables: (a) All mitigation projects funded between fiscal years 2005 and 2020 in the respective states and (b) All funding allocations for public and individual assistance following hurricanes Matthew and Irma. Independent variables included poverty, race, housing, and the Center for Disease Control Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) for each county. Control variables included population density and hazard exposure (e.g., properties in the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area). Results indicated that counties with higher poverty rates and proportions of Black residents receive less HMA and IA funding. Additionally, counties with higher percentages of Black residents typically receive less IA funding than the value of damage assessed by FEMA during inspection. Furthermore, counties with a higher SoVI receive more mitigation funding for emergency management and property protection projects, but less funding for land acquisition projects. These results advance understanding of how social inequities are exacerbated by a lack of access to federal disaster funding and such funding being put towards continued development in high-risk areas.
Patterns of Access to Post-Disaster Housing Recovery Resources: The Case of Lumberton
Housing recovery is one of the strongest indicators of a community’s recovery after a disaster. It is also one the costliest components of community recovery depending on the extent of overall damages and poses a large financial burden to households, particularly for the uninsured. Therefore, availability of financial resources and access to them—in the form of insurance payouts, federal grants, loans, and assistance from non-governmental organizations, family, and friends—can play a substantial role in determining the pace and the completeness of housing recovery at aggregate and disaggregate levels. Based on housing recovery surveys we conducted after Hurricane Matthew in Lumberton, North Carolina, our results provide insights on disparities in access to financial resources, the types of resources accessible to households, and how quickly they receive the financial assistance. This poster shows how the patterns of housing damage and socioeconomic factors intersect with having homeowners and flood insurance, applying for federal and non-federal resources, and receiving insurance payouts and assistance from federal and non-federal sources. Based on the results, we offer policy suggestions to narrow the gaps in access to resources for at-risk communities.
Historical Review of Flood Mitigation Investments in Charleston, South Carolina
Over the past decade, the effects of climate change have exposed the nation's aging and failing infrastructure to new threats. Charleston, SC is a striking example: It has been inundated by more multiple disasters including frequent flooding, sea level rise, king tides, and hurricanes. But with rising insurance rates, thinning federal disaster relief funds, and limited resilient investments, the future economic prosperity of coastal communities is becoming increasingly threatened. Conditions like these show that cities like Charleston need to raise more funds from the private market for mitigation investments. This poster highlights the patterns and priorities of financial investments for mitigation projects in Charleston. by drawing together findings from a mixed methods study which included mapping and visualization, analysis of media articles and local government documents, and interviews with resiliency community stakeholders and finance experts. The City of Charleston has made progress in the past by pursuing funding sources for mitigation projects from various taxes, federal and state grants, state and local budgets, and private philanthropies. But the pandemic has increased strain on all these economic structures, limiting funding for necessary mitigation projects. Funding is mostly directed to near-term priorities and emergencies such as flooding response, rather than other issues like strengthening building and land use regulations and freeboard requirements, green infrastructure, building retrofits, and holistic approaches to promoting community resilience. This analysis of mitigation investments can help determine areas where flood mitigation investments may be lacking, historical patterns of inequalities in investments, and flood mitigation project priorities.
Bridging Science and Policy: Modifying Resilience Quotient Zoning Ordinance in Norfolk, Virginia
By 2050, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea levels in the United States will rise by an average of 10-12 inches. The sea level of Norfolk, Virginia, is rising nearly twice as fast as elsewhere in the United States. Norfolk is already experiencing effects of sea level rise, including an average of 35-40 days of nuisance flooding per year. In 2018, the city adopted a new zoning ordinance and introduced a Resilience Quotient (RQ) system to enhance coastal resilience. Specifically, RQ is a points-based system consisting of three components: risk reduction, stormwater management, and energy resilience. Developers and property owners can adopt interventions in the components to earn resilience points to satisfy resilient development requirements. However, the current RQ system is still in its initial phase and requires modifications to its existing point system based on scientific evidence.
This poster describes our analysis of the RQ program. Using an adjusted version of the Resilience Assessment Framework, we proposed a set of modifications to the RQ system. First, we recommended that the RQ should expand its key components to include two additional measures of land subsidence and social vulnerability. Next, we conducted cost analysis to quantify the interventions based on the Life Cycle Costing Theory and develop recommendations for modifying the points assigned to resilience interventions in the RQ system. The study provided solid scientific evidence about how to adjust resilience point values based on development types and will have practical implications since it directly addressed the science-to-policy interface.
Advance Coastal Adaptation Planning: Analysis of Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments
Rising sea levels have led to an increase in coastal flooding and inundation. Coastal communities have been forced to respond, both with immediate action after the occurrence of an event and with long-range planning to anticipate future changes. Regions in the United States are developing climate adaptation plans to address floods and other hazards. Although many studies have examined coastal adaptation strategies, there is a lack of research on coastal adaptation planning practices (e.g., co-production of knowledge). Therefore, there is a need to examine important factors in coastal adaptation planning processes and develop lessons learned from the coastal adaptation planning cases in order to provide recommendations for other professionals who face similar issues.
This poster describes a case study which I conducted on Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments (LA SAFE). The purpose of this case study was to explore factors that influence coastal adaptation planning processes. In 2017, the Foundation for Louisiana and the Louisiana Office of Community Development convened 71 public meetings to consult residents in six Louisiana parishes about the challenges they encountered from sea-level rise and flooding. Following these successful planning sessions, LA SAFE developed ten adaptation projects in the six parishes to reduce flood risk and enhance community resilience. I collected data from two sources: documents and semi-structured interviews. The findings demonstrated that co-production of knowledge is key to creating coastal adaptation plans, with a focus on landscape visualization and community engagement as a persuasive technique for community audiences in multi-scale planning processes.
Domestic Violence and COVID-19: How Public Health Control Measures Impacted Victim Services
Background: Domestic violence impacts 12 million people in the United States each year. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of domestic violence have increased 8.1%, according to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. Complex social service systems and infrastructure are often disrupted during disasters. . This poster describes a study that assessed the effect of public health emergency response and control measures for COVID-19 on the provision of services and the functioning of built environments for domestic violence victims.
Methods: Contacts at each State Domestic Violence Coalition were identified using the National Domestic Violence Coalition website and key informant interviews were conducted with Executive Directors. Transcripts were inductively coded to identify themes. The interview guide and other materials were reviewed and approved by the University of Delaware IRB (1597257).
Results: Coalition directors reported changes in the workforce that impacted service provision and shelter operations throughout the pandemic. Staff turnover increased due to burnout and compassion fatigue. Social distancing guidelines required shelters to close or operate at lower capacity. Lack of funding for technology and minimal internet access hindered coalitions’ ability to administer virtual programs or support victims.
Conclusion: COVID-19 restrictions impacted the ability of Coalitions to administer services to domestic violence victims. Empowerment-based services resilient to disasters and emergencies are needed for domestic violence victims. Further coordination, information sharing, and other linkages between social services’ infrastructures can address other unmet needs.
Sense of Community and Household Recovery From the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit resulted in the release of five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months. Disaster studies have demonstrated that physical and emotional impacts and subsequent recovery processes vary greatly by preexisting social vulnerability. Less is known, however, about the social factors that may expedite or impede long-term recovery. Building on the 2012 Gulf Coast Population Impact Project, a 2014 cross-sectional study collected information from 719 impacted Louisiana households who were present at the time of the oil spill. Using latent class analysis of the Sense of Community (SOC) Index responses, we divided participants into three classifications: high SOC (56% of respondents), high rationale for connection (35% of respondents), and low SOC (9% of respondents). Next, we analyzed the effect of an individual’s SOC on the likelihood of not being recovered. Our results showed that individuals with low SOC were two times more likely to have not recovered than those with a high SOC. After adjusting for potential confounders, our results showed that financial impact from the spill during the six months after the event had the largest effect on a household’s odds of not being recovered. While preliminary, these results indicate that individuals with a stronger SOC may be less vulnerable to disasters and have faster recoveries.
Planning for Adaptation? Examining the Integration of Hazard Mitigation and Recovery Planning
The conventional view of a natural disaster cycle separates mitigation and recovery into two distinct phases of activity. Many locations, however, contend with consecutive disasters that blur the lines between pre- and post-event activities. Rushing to get back to normal, as is the typical post-disaster reaction, can mean rebuilding homes, businesses, and infrastructure in the exact places that have become even more vulnerable. Few studies have examined the extent to which local mitigation and recovery efforts are integrated and whether integration inhibits or enables long-term risk reduction, especially in the realm of land use.
Our study aimed to address an overarching question: To what extent are local mitigation and recovery plans and planning processes connected with each other? Our research design consists of a longitudinal case comparison. We selected 10 case counties across three states with different state frameworks for supporting local planning (Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina) but shared hazard risks and regional characteristics. Our data collection methods included systematic plan coding, online surveys of local mitigation and recovery officials, and semi-structured interviews with local risk reduction champions. We also used secondary data sources, including federal funding support (i.e., Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Assistance, Public Assistance, and Individual Assistance) and socio-economic characteristics.
Our preliminary findings suggest that the mitigation and recovery planning are remarkably different in terms of the networks of individuals and agencies involved and their policy approaches.
Quantifying the Health Impacts of Floods—Update
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) works to reduce and manage flood risk. Recent policy directives emphasize the necessity of comprehensive, holistic benefits analysis in USACE project planning. Traditional flood risk management decision making is driven by assessments of first-order life safety and of the scale of preventable damage to property values. It does not routinely account for other societal benefits of flood prevention. Engineers and planners need access to methods for identifying and quantifying these other benefits. This poster describes a study which sought to partially address that need by systematically reviewing the available literature linking flood hazard exposure to adverse health outcomes, and to aggregate findings into quantitative relationships between hazard intensity, population characteristics, and incidence of adverse outcomes. Our review included 127 journal articles of primary studies, and an additional 34 other meta-analyses. Health outcomes from flood exposure assessed in this body of literature include injury, exacerbation of chronic illness, infectious disease, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. Our team coded these articles for common themes and findings, with attention to underlying characteristics and mediating variables that affect the distribution of the adverse outcomes across a population. Additional ongoing analysis on a subset of this literature is developing Pooled Odds Ratios on the effect of flood-caused housing damages on mental health outcomes.