Using GIS methods for disaster management to identify socially vulnerable populations and environmental hazards in Houston, TX
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
The Houston metropolitan area is a large, diverse, and densely populated geographical region that is predisposed to natural disasters due to its coastal location. In 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall over Texas causing more than $19.3 billion dollars in damages and 84 fatalities. A characteristic of Houston that underlines the need for emergency management plans is that the Port of Houston, one of the busiest ports in the world, has hundreds of manufacturing and refining facilities within close proximity of the general population. The major objective of the current study is to identify socially vulnerable areas in relation to possible environmental hazardous exposures caused by a disaster scenario. For this purpose fifteen (15) U.S. census tract variables were selected to develop an inclusive social vulnerability index to identify at-risk populations in relation to the number of toxic release inventory (TRI) sites within each tract. Using geographic information systems (GIS) methods, the current study found clusters of socially vulnerable areas with high concentrations of TRI-reporting facilities. In addition, by accounting for the boundaries of high impact areas, critical regions are identified that are likely to have a significant vulnerability. These findings will assist emergency managers and policy makers to effectively implement mitigation plans, optimize the emergency response efforts, identify optimal evacuation routes, increase disaster resiliency, and implement measures to decrease the vulnerability of the population to disasters.
Environmental health sciences
Identify socially vulnerable areas in relation to possible environmental hazardous exposures caused by a disaster scenario.
Keyword(s): Emergency Preparedness
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of the research that focused on Using GIS methods for disaster management to identify socially vulnerable populations and environmental hazards in Houston, TX. Among my scientific interests has been studying social disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.