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Disasters. 2008 Dec;32(4):537-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2008.01054.x. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

Social vulnerability and the natural and built environment: a model of flood casualties in Texas.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, United States. szahran@colostate.edu

Abstract

Studies on the impacts of hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornados indicate that poor communities of colour suffer disproportionately in human death and injury.(2) Few quantitative studies have been conducted on the degree to which flood events affect socially vulnerable populations. We address this research void by analysing 832 countywide flood events in Texas from 1997-2001. Specifically, we examine whether geographic localities characterised by high percentages of socially vulnerable populations experience significantly more casualties due to flood events, adjusting for characteristics of the natural and built environment. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models indicate that the odds of a flood casualty increase with the level of precipitation on the day of a flood event, flood duration, property damage caused by the flood, population density, and the presence of socially vulnerable populations. Odds decrease with the number of dams, the level of precipitation on the day before a recorded flood event, and the extent to which localities have enacted flood mitigation strategies. The study concludes with comments on hazard-resilient communities and protection of casualty-prone populations.

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