Vulnerability of healthcare infrastructure to flooding in Georgia

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 2:00 PM
228AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Shubhayu Saha, CDC, Atlanta, GA; and A. Manangan and C. Marsteller

Background: The Third National Climate Assessment projects an increase in extreme precipitation events and sea level rise for the United States, leading to a likely elevated risk of flooding in in coastal regions and inland areas. As a result, the integrity and operation of healthcare facilities may be compromised with significant public health consequences. Objective: This project examines the vulnerability of healthcare infrastructure from coastal and inland flooding for the state of Georgia. Methods: Flood zone data was obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Information on type, size and location of hospital infrastructure was obtained from the American Hospital Association (AHA). These datasets were brought into a Geographic Information System to identify hospitals that were in close proximity to flood hazard zones, implying a greater risk during flooding events. Results: Using a proximity-based spatial analytic approach, 17% of hospitals in the state Georgia were located within 100 meters of a designated floodplain. Based on the preliminary results, 22 counties in Georgia-- a combined population of 2.3M people, or 24% of the total population of Georgia (US Census Bureau, 2010)--contained at least one of these hospitals. Implication: Preliminary findings indicate that 17% of hospitals are in close proximity to the 100-year floodplain in the state of Georgia. Given the projections of coastal and riverine flooding from climate change, this analysis highlights the issue of healthcare infrastructure to flooding in greater detail.