Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Weathering the tropical cyclone: Improving public assistance via vulnerability assessment for the older population of New Hanover county, North Carolina
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
New Hanover County in southeast North Carolina has a high probability of a tropical cyclone landfall along its coast. Some of the hazards from tropical cyclones include inland flooding and damaging winds. Out of New Hanover County's total population, 13.3% of its residents are 65 years or older. This cohort is especially vulnerable to these hazards because of issues relating to infirmity, poverty, and lack of transportation. Public assistance for the elder population is necessary to protect their property and life. Assistance would include the mitigation of the effects of physical hazards and the facilitation of necessary transportation during evacuations. A geographic information system (GIS) is used to conduct vulnerability assessment analysis and visualize the analytical results. Data are from the 2000 Census, 2006 American Community Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Service Center, and the NOAA National Hurricane Center (NHC). Results from the analysis conclude that the areas that are highly vulnerable to hazards and have dense 65 and older population are most concentrated in the urbanized areas of the county, and therefore, need more public assistance during the threats of tropical cyclones.