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Modeling Disaster Inequity

Mapping hazards and inequities.

by Eric Holdeman / September 22, 2020

We all know that the intersection of disasters and people of color and low-income areas leads to more damages, more injuries and deaths to these populations. It can also be predicted geographically where this will occur.

Check out "The Resilience Divide Part 3: Modeling Inequity in Seattle, Washington."

In this study, they overlaid the impact of three earthquake scenarios with Census data for the the city of Seattle. The results are pretty evident.

The authors call out that the data can be used to improve the full range of emergency management actions, planning, mitigation, response and recovery. However, I think it is mitigation that will really save people.

For instance, buildings in Pioneer Square are most likely to be damaged, and they are unreinforced masonry buildings (URM). There is still no plan for retrofitting those buildings, even after it is known that they will kill people in a major earthquake.

Lastly, look at the Seattle Fault scenario and where Harbor Island is located. The single worst place to be in that earthquake! Fortunately, no one lives on Harbor Island, but they do work there!

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