Estimating Evacuation Shelter Deficits in the Houston–Galveston Metropolitan Area
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Evacuation is frequently used by emergency managers and other officials as part of an overall approach to reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with hurricane landfall. In this study, the evacuation shelter capacity of the Houston-Galveston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was spatially assessed and shelter deficits in the region were estimated. These data provide essential information needed to eliminate shelter deficits and ensure a successful evacuation from a future storm. Spatial statistical methods-Global Moran's I, Anselin Local Moran's I (Local Indicators of Spatial Association [LISA]), and Hot Spot Analysis (Getis-Ord Gi*) were used to assess for regional spatial autocorrelation and clustering of evacuation shelters in the Houston-Galveston MSA. Shelter deficits were estimated in four ways-the aggregate deficit for the Houston-Galveston MSA, by evacuation Zip-Zone, by county, and by distance or radii of evacuation Zip-Zone. Evacuation shelters were disproportionately distributed in the region, with lower capacity shelters clustered closer to evacuation Zip-Zones (50 miles from the Coastal Zip-Zone), and higher capacity shelters clustered farther away from the zones (120 miles from the Coastal Zip-Zone). The aggregate shelter deficit for the Houston-Galveston MSA was 353,713 persons. To reduce morbidity and mortality associated with future hurricanes in the Houston-Galveston MSA, authorities should consider the development and implementation of policies that would improve the evacuation shelter capacity of the region. Eliminating shelter deficits, which has been done successfully in the state of Florida, is an essential element of protecting the public from hurricane impacts.
author list (cited authors)
Karaye, I. M., Thompson, C., Perez‐Patron, M., Taylor, N., & Horney, J. A.