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Adjustments of Socially Vulnerable Populations in Galveston County, Texas USA Following Hurricane Ike

Emily Fucile-Sanchez () and Meri Davlasheridze ()
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Emily Fucile-Sanchez: Sustainable Planning and Design LLC., 4709 Austin St., Houston, TX 77004, USA
Meri Davlasheridze: Department of Marine and Coastal Environmental Science, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77554, USA

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 17, 1-23

Abstract: The role of socio-demographic vulnerability to hazards is an increasingly important aspect for consideration in disaster mitigation and adaptation. This paper examines the spatial adjustments of populations to the 2008 Hurricane Ike by estimating the effects of damage on the changes of socially vulnerable populations pre- and post-Hurricane Ike. Multivariate regression models are used to understand household-level adjustments in different flood zones and inundation levels at the block-group level in Galveston county. In contrast to past literature that suggests that vulnerable populations remain or move into hazardous areas post-disaster, our results indicate that socially vulnerable populations have moved out of highly damaged areas. The tremendous investment opportunity post-disaster and the slow distribution of funds to recover public housing on Galveston Island provide potential explanation of the estimated adjustment patterns. Analyzing post disaster adjustments offers important insights into the “resilient” recovery of Galveston County post-Hurricane Ike. Our results also point to potential vulnerabilities that may arise in the future because of the change in community identity and the loss of social memory. Understanding disaster-driven changes in community make-up will help inform potential recovery trajectories from future catastrophes.

Keywords: disaster vulnerability; spatial and temporal adjustments; hurricane Ike; social vulnerability index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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