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Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters

Introduction

History, research and the recent catastrophes of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and the more recent Midwest floods have determined that the United States of America is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirms that folds are undoubtedly, the most frequent and costly among all the naturally occurring disasters.

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The objective of the research proposal is to determine the vulnerability of the Hazardville community to flood disasters. The second objective is to examine how appropriate planning will help in the minimization of potential loss to life and property.

A literature review including the reasons for the vulnerability of the United States to weather has been included. The research design includes the description of the vulnerability of the Hazardville community (fictitious) to flood disasters.

The proposed data collection methods include document analysis and mail questionnaire survey. The process of data analysis will take place on a sequential basis, while it is collected. The aim of the research project is to prove that the Hazardville community is not prepared for flood disasters and to thereby increase the increase awareness among citizens of the vulnerability of the Hazardville (fictitious) community to disasters caused due to floods. The overreaching goal of the project is to prove the importance of education, planning and preparation of flood disaster management programs to reduce loss to life and property.

Literature Review

With the increase in the global populace, countries and communities are becoming increasingly prone to natural disasters. Migration to regions that are vulnerable to hazards and natural calamities further augments the problem. According o the International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Cross Crescent Societies (1999), approximately 84,034 humans (across the globe) were killed due to natural disasters between 1973 and 1997. Mileti (1999) affirms approximate losses to the tune of $500 billion due to natural disasters. Miller (1997) considers floods to be the most destructive of all the natural disasters, not only due to their common occurrences but also due to the fact that they cause maximum number of deaths and damages to life and property.

The United States Weather Research Program (USWRP) affirms the vulnerability of the nation to weather conditions. The reasons that have been stated include the swift growth in the population which results an increased time period required for evacuation of residents from the coastal areas, lake fronts and waterways (Website of The U.S. Weather research Program). The same has been confirmed by the American Geophysical Union (AGU, 2007) which states that the density of the population of the United States of America is one of the prime reasons for its increased vulnerability to natural hazards, as numerous people and resultant businesses and infrastructure have developed substantially in the disaster prone areas.

The United States Weather Research Program also blames poor forecasting of potential flooding as a reason for vulnerability, asserting that the currently used methods display flaws in the accurate assimilation of potential floods.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) further accentuates the dangers of hazards by stating that over ten million households of America are situated in areas with potentially significant flood risks, out of which twenty to twenty-five percent of the total insurance flood claims are paid to residents of the moderate to low lying flood areas.

Mileti (1999) confirms that approximately two-thousand-three hundred deaths and twenty-seven billion to two-hundred-seventy-seven billion dollars of loss from “damages to property, destruction of crops” and “deaths and injuries to the wildlife”, in the preceding two decades due to flooding.

“The Great Flood of 1993” caused severe damage to life and property in nine states has been described as “the worst flood in U.S. history” (FEMA Website). Approximately 52,000 people were killed in the raging waters and 54,000 were dislocated (Changnon 1996; Miller 1997). The flood cause destruction and damage to more than 50,000 structures and flooded over ten million acres of land with water (Becker 1994; Larson 1996). The approximate damage to life and property has been estimated to the tune of $12 billion to $18 billion (Becker 1994; Changnon 1996; Larson 1996; Mileti 1999; Schwab 1998).

Stated Objective of the research

The information and data regarding the impacts of floods and in particular the Great Flood of 1993 were collected almost after the disasters. Nevertheless, the people who have been affected by these disasters have seldom been questioned regarding the longlasting effects of the same on the lives, years after the tragedy. (Changnon 1996).

The primary objective of the proposed research is to prove that the community of Hazardville is not prepared for natural flood disaster. The second objective is to increase the citizens’ awareness to show just how vulnerable the (fictitious) residential community of Hazardville is to a flood disaster, and how education, planning and preparation will minimize the loss of life and property.

There is a popular consensus concerning the immense losses to life and property due to natural disasters such as floods (Becker 1994; Changnon 1996; Larson 1996; Mileti 1999; Schwab 1998). However, there is a dearth of precise academic research and study which enables the verification of these presumptions. The data and proposed research will help the Hazardville community to gain a better understanding and importance of their enhanced exposure to disasters of floods and at the same time aid researchers policy guide makers in their applied work thereby benefiting the future potential victims of natural disasters, especially flood victims.

The proposed research study aims to focus on flooding hazards for several reasons. First, the risk of floods is the most common natural disaster in the United States. Every state and U.S. territory has experienced flooding at one time or another. Floods have occurred in both coastal areas and inland, and are the most damaging type of natural hazard year after year.

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Second, the potential for loss of human life and property damage is considerably greater with flood hazards.

Third, flood damage and loss of life in communities are part of the unavoidable consequence of a community leadership’s failure to make their communities flood disaster resistant.

Experimental Design

Selection of the Hazardville community for study

Hazardville is situated within the floodplain of the Smith River and the community, previously experienced flood damage about 10 years ago. The rainfall in the past decade has been average-to below-average and the Smith River has not reached flood crest for the previous 10 years. This fact increases the vulnerability and risk to the Hazardville community form floods in case normal rainfall is experienced, and the Smith River reaches its full capacity, once again.

The researcher attempts to fulfill the objective of the study by using data collection methods. The foremost objective of the researcher is to enhance the understanding of the targeted community for the purpose of which descriptive field work will be used. A prime benefit of field descriptive field work is that it provides a historical milieu and deeper perspective of the impending problem (Axinn, Fricke, and Thornton 1991; Massey, Alarcon, Durand, and Gonzalez 1987).

The researcher aims to address active organizations within the Hazardville community, such as the Exchange club, Lions club, Kiwanis club and the Rotary club.

Data analysis

Data will be analyzed in a sequential manner as the data is collected using the appropriate methods. The analysis of data will initiate with the conduction of historical research by obtaining public records from official city records, newspapers and personal interviews with the senior citizens, which will be recorded, for further analysis and comparison.

Data will be analysed for a 50 year period from 1948 to 1998, when Hazardville had experienced flooding on 6 separate instances in different parts of the community. Each approximate area that had experienced flooding will be compared with the approximate rainfall for that particular time period. Those areas of Hazardville (that had been flooded) will help in the identification of the residential and commercial enterprises which were included in those zones.

This qualitative data will then be examined to determine the extent of damage to life and property in cases of previous flood disasters in the region.

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The second phase of data analysis will include the analyzing of qualitative data primarily focusing on field notes. Following the interviews, transcription will be initiated as soon as possible and be reviewed constantly.

The final part of the data analysis will engage the elucidation of the questionnaire survey, by means of which comparisons will be made to provide detailed analysis.

Data will be collected from fifty citizens of the Hazardville community for the control group and twenty-five for the treatment group. Each citizen will be a head-of-the-household and a property owner or renter within the city limits. The individuals would be selected from the six neighborhoods that lie within the Hazardville community.

The citizens for the research proposal would be identified by requesting the different civic organizations to be briefed regarding the potential dangers their community faces in case of naturally occurring flood disasters. The second project objective is to examine the impacts of a natural flood disaster. The hypothesis of the research is clearly connected to this second aim. A mail questionnaire survey shall be designed, once the individuals of the Hazardville community have been identified. This survey will aid the researcher to measure and compare the perceptions of the community representatives regarding their previous experiences and its impact on their lives. The quantitative analysis of the survey data will determine whether the hypothesis will be accepted or not.

The researcher aims to design a mail questionnaire survey and pretest it following the qualitative research phase. Along with the questionnaire, an additional letter will be mailed to all the respondents, requesting their participation in the survey.

Additionally, there will also be a stamped return envelope, mailed with the questionnaire. The respondents will be asked to mail back the questionnaires within a period of ten days, following which the researcher will record the methodological data with the help of a return rate (Babbie 1973).

The researcher aims to prepare a mailing list of five-hundred respondents as the response of 10% respondents is necessary to reach the ascertained number of twenty-five volunteers for the control group as well as the treatment group.

An initial survey shall be conducted by the researcher with the purpose of dividing the volunteers in two groups, which will be determined by the questions serving as dependent variables to establish a baseline for the groups (Appendix B).

Potential Sources of Funding for the proposed Research

The potential sources of funding for this proposed research includes the governmet organizations of Hazardville community (The Mayor, Government of Hazardville); the several active social organizations within the Hazardville community, such as the Exchange club, Lions club, Kiwanis club and the Rotary club and the prominent businessmen and companies of the Hazardville community.

Potential Benefits of the proposed Research

The proposed research aims to study the vulnerability and resultant potential risks such as dangers and loss to life and property due to the naturally occurring disasters such as floods. The research will be instrumental in improving the knowledge of the community of Hazardville regarding the same, in addition to making substantial contribution to the existing knowledge of literature bodies pertaining to the educational and informational programs for such disasters. The research will aim to highlight the impact of floods on the future lives of humans and also the fact that planning and preparation for natural disasters is necessary, especially in the vulnerable regions of America.

Assessment of the long term impact of natural disasters on the lives of the affected people has the potential to guide the recovery operations of post-disaster programs.

Thus, awareness will be created not only in the community of Hazardville, but in the entire human community, that planning and preparation for natural disasters prove substantially beneficial in minimizing loss of life and property.

Bibliography/References

American Geophysical Union (AGU). Why the United States Is Becoming More Vulnerable to Natural Disasters. Web.

Axinn, William G., Thomas E. Fricke, and Thornton A., 1991. “The Microdemographic Community-Study Approach: Improving Survey Data by Integrating the Ethnographic Method.” Sociological Methods and Research.

Babbie, Earl R. 1973. Survey Research Methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc.

Becker, William S. 1994. Rebuilding for the Future: A Guide to Sustainable Redevelopment for Disaster-Affected Communities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy.

Changnon, Stanley A. 1996. The Great Flood of 1993: Causes Impacts and Responses. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, Inc.

Driscoll, Dana Lynn. Edited by Karl Stolley, 2006. Ethical Considerations in Primary Research. The OWL at Purdue. Web.

Federal Emergency Management Agency. Facts About Floods. Web.

Larson, Larry A. 1996. “Lessons Drawn from 1993 Flood.” Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 11:102-104.

Massey, Douglas S., Rafael Alarcon, Jorge Durand, and Humberto Gonzalez. 1987. Pp. 1-21;

39-62; 164-169; 276-283 in Return to Aztlan: The Social Process of International Migration from Western Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mileti, Dennis (1999). Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.

Miller, John B. 1997. Floods: People at Risk, Strategies for Prevention. New York: United Nations.

National Flood Mitigation Data Collection Tool Guide (FEMA 497). Federal Emergency Management Agency. Web.

U. S. Weather Research Program. Saving Lives, Money, and Time: Better Weather Forecasts for the Nations. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 20). Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/vulnerability-of-hazardville-to-flooding-disasters/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 20). Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters. https://studycorgi.com/vulnerability-of-hazardville-to-flooding-disasters/

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"Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters." StudyCorgi, 20 Sept. 2021, studycorgi.com/vulnerability-of-hazardville-to-flooding-disasters/.

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StudyCorgi. "Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters." September 20, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/vulnerability-of-hazardville-to-flooding-disasters/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Vulnerability of Hazardville to Flooding Disasters." September 20, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/vulnerability-of-hazardville-to-flooding-disasters/.

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