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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Nov 2017

Research article | 21 Nov 2017

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Response Time to Flood Events using a Social Vulnerability Index (ReTSVI)

Alvaro Quezada-Hofflinger1, Marcelo A. Somos-Valenzuela2,3, and Arturo Vallejos-Romero1 Alvaro Quezada-Hofflinger et al.
  • 1Nucleo de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco, 4780000, Chile
  • 2Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco 4780000, Chile
  • 3Northeast Climate Science Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 01003, USA

Abstract. Current methods used to estimate people's evacuation times during a natural disaster assume that human responses across different social groups are similar. However, individuals respond differently based on their socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and previous knowledge. This article develops the Response Time by Social Vulnerability Index (ReTSVI), which is a methodology to estimate how human response time to evacuation warnings during a natural hazard is affected by considering characteristics related to both physical and social vulnerability. ReTSVI is a three-step methodology: first we calculate a population's evacuation curves considering social vulnerability level, certain demographic information and a model that describes an inundation hazard. Then, we use a mobilization model to generate evacuation maps per level of vulnerability and we also estimate the social vulnerability index for the area of study. In the third step, we combine the results from the second step to generate a map that indicates the percentage of people that could evacuate a hazard zone according to their social vulnerability level. Finally, we provide an example of the application of ReTSVI in a potential case of a severe flood event in Huaraz, Peru. The results show that during the first 5minutes of the evacuation, the population that lives in neighborhoods with high social vulnerability evacuate 15% and 22% fewer people than the neighborhoods with medium and low social vulnerability. These differences gradually decrease over time after the evacuation warning and social vulnerability becomes less relevant after 30minutes. Using a methodology such as ReTSVI allows first responders to identify areas where the same level of physical vulnerability affects distinct groups differently, providing them with a tool to quantify the differences in time to evacuate and where the resources before and during an evacuation should be preferentially allocated.

Alvaro Quezada-Hofflinger et al.
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Alvaro Quezada-Hofflinger et al.
Alvaro Quezada-Hofflinger et al.
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Short summary
In this work, we propose a novel methodology (ReTSVI) to integrate a social vulnerability index into evacuation to flood hazards methodologies. Our results highlight the relevance of including social vulnerability in the planning process. There are distinct differences in the percentage of people evacuated for blocks that are close to each other, which is only explained by social vulnerability since their exposure to the physical hazard and the distance to a safe area are similar.
In this work, we propose a novel methodology (ReTSVI) to integrate a social vulnerability index...