Individual Hurricane Preparedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights for Risk Communication and Emergency Management Policies

Botzen, W. J. W., Mol, J. M., Robinson, P. J., Zhang, J., & Czajkowski, J. (2021). Individual hurricane evacuation intentions during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights for risk communication and emergency management policies. Natural Hazards, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-021-05064-2-2

16 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2020 Last revised: 21 Oct 2021

See all articles by W.J.W. Botzen

W.J.W. Botzen

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)

Jantsje M. Mol

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making (CREED)

Peter John Robinson

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)

Juan Zhang

NAIC; Temple University, Fox School of Business and Management

Jeffrey Czajkowski

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Date Written: October 20, 2021

Abstract

The U.S. 2020 hurricane season was extraordinary because of a record number of named storms coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. This study draws lessons on how individual hurricane preparedness is influenced by the additional risk stemming from a pandemic, which turns out to be a combination of perceptions of flood and pandemic risks that have opposite effects on preparedness behavior. We conducted a survey in early June 2020 of 600 respondents in flood-prone areas in Florida to obtain insights into households' risk perceptions and preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season under COVID-19. The results show that concerns over COVID-19 dominated flood risk perceptions and negatively impacted people's evacuation intentions. Whereas hotel costs were the main obstacle to evacuating during Hurricane Dorian in 2019 in the same geographic study area, the main evacuation obstacle identified in the 2020 hurricane season is COVID-19. Our statistical analyses investigating the factors influencing evacuation intentions show that older individuals are less likely to evacuate under a voluntary order, because they are more concerned about the consequences of becoming infected by COVID-19. We observe similar findings based on a real-time survey we conducted in Florida with another group of respondents under the threat of Hurricane Eta at the end of the hurricane season in November 2020. We discuss the implications of our findings for risk communication and emergency management policies that aim to improve hurricane preparedness when dealing with additional health risks such as a pandemic, a situation that may be exacerbated under the future climate.

Keywords: COVID-19, evacuation, hurricane preparedness, pandemic, risk perception

JEL Classification: Q54, C83

Suggested Citation

Botzen, W.J.W. and Mol, J. M. and Robinson, Peter John and Zhang, Juan and Czajkowski, Jeffrey, Individual Hurricane Preparedness during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights for Risk Communication and Emergency Management Policies (October 20, 2021). Botzen, W. J. W., Mol, J. M., Robinson, P. J., Zhang, J., & Czajkowski, J. (2021). Individual hurricane evacuation intentions during the COVID-19 pandemic: insights for risk communication and emergency management policies. Natural Hazards, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-021-05064-2-2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3699277 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3699277

W.J.W. Botzen

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) ( email )

De Boelelaan 1115
Amsterdam, 1081 HV
Netherlands

J. M. Mol (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and Political Decision Making (CREED) ( email )

Netherlands

Peter John Robinson

VU University Amsterdam - Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) ( email )

De Boelelaan 1087
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

Juan Zhang

NAIC ( email )

1100 Walnut Street
Suite 1500
Kansas City, MO 641056
United States
267-250-7157 (Phone)

Temple University, Fox School of Business and Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States
267-250-7157 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/temple.edu/juan-zhang/

Jeffrey Czajkowski

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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