The nearly 800,000 residents and more than 300,000 people who work in the ART Subregional Project area are served by emergency response facilities such as hospitals, police stations, and fire stations; facilities that serve or house at-risk populations such as health clinics, homeless shelters, jails, and food banks; facilities that serve the elderly, the very young, and less mobile populations such as senior housing, long-term care facilities, schools, and childcare centers. In addition, there is a non-profit facility that shelters animals.
Sea level rise and storm events can result in significant financial and personal hardship, including the loss of lives, personal items, loss or damage to residences, temporary or permanent relocation, and dislocation from jobs, schools, and other important community services and ties.
Certain factors can make individual members of a community, or a community as a whole, especially vulnerable to sea level rise and storm events. These include lacking the financial means, physical capacity, necessary information, or access to services to prepare for and respond to flooding or other hazards. Past disasters have demonstrated these factors can contribute to severe consequences to public health and safety, as well as the local and regional economy.
Certain types of land uses, including residences of all types, facilities that serve at-risk populations, and animal facilities or shelters, zoos, and farms are particularly difficult to protect, evacuate, or rebuild. Facilities that serve community members with limited mobility, who are medically dependent, or need special supervision are vulnerable because emergency evacuation will require specialized equipment, trained staff, and an appropriate location to shelter displaced individuals. The types of facilities that are vulnerable include senior housing and long-term care facilities that house residents that may need more time to evacuate or have fragile health, and schools and childcare facilities that present evacuation and sheltering challenges due to the care and supervision needed for young children. Past disasters have also shown that it is challenging to assist people with pets to safely evacuate, and that animal facilities are particularly vulnerable because it is difficult to evacuate and relocate animals from shelters or other facilities. Many of the plans, policies and practices that guide land use and capital investment in community facilities do not consider sea level rise or storm events, and action at the local, regional, state and federal levels will be necessary to ensure that as the region grows these land uses, and the people who rely on them, are not put at risk.
For more information:
- Lindy Lowe