Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, HVRI researchers
have been investigating Hurricane Katrina recovery along the Mississippi Gulf
Coast. The repeated visits over the past 5 years are intended to gain insight
into which places recover faster than others and why.
Click here for more details.
31 August 2010
Using British maritime ship logs from the 18th and 19th centuries,
Dr. Mock is reconstructing hurricane occurrence in the Atlantic Ocean.
The reconstructed data will help shed light on current hurricane trends.
Click here for more details.
26 August 2010
Christopher Burton and Eric Tate, were selected and supported to attend the
for Integration of Research on Climate Change and Hazards in the Americas
in Panama City, Panama, June 14-25, 2010. Objectives of the institute are to:
- identify, engage, and integrate scholars and practitioners with on-going
activities of major organizations around the relationship between climate
change and hazards
- interrelate knowledge domains between climate change and hazards using
- develop a collaborative research and educational agenda that communicates
across disciplines and sectors
The event is co-organized by the Association of American Geographers,
the PanAmerican Institute for Geography and History,
the US Geological Survey, the
National Communication Association, and the
UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Funding is provided by the
NSF's Pan American Advanced Studies
Institute Program (PASI).
16 March 2010
Oxfam commissioned HVRI to develop a series of layered maps that depict
social and climate change related vulnerability. The maps assist in identifying
hotspots in the Southeastern U.S. that are a significant risk in the face of
four particular climate change related hazards.
Click here for more details.
21 October 2009
Post-Doctoral Research Position Available
HVRI is seeking a Post-Doctoral researcher to assist in on-going research and
development examining disaster recovery along the Mississippi coast, advancing
vulnerability science, and examining community resilience indicators. The deadline
for applications is October 30, 2009 or until the position is filled.
Click here for more details.
02 October 2009
Susan Cutter Interviewed About Hurricane Hugo
The radio piece, titled
Hurricane Hugo 20th Anniversary: Hurricane Preparedness:
was conducted for Walter Edgar’s Journal on NPR.
28 September 2009
Jennifer Webb won second place in the graduate student poster competition at the annual
(National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Reponses to Terrorism) meeting
28 September 2009
Will Graf named to Corps Advisory Board
Environmental Advisory Board
to the Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a group of scholars and practioners
who are responsible for advising the most senior-level managers of the Corps on ways to
ensure that the mission of the organization includes a focus on environmental restoration
as well as the more traditional roles of flood mitigation and navigation. The board interacts
directly with teh Chief of the USACE and with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for
Public Works in meetings in Washington as well as in field inspections throughout the nation.
03 September 2009
"Death Map" Released
Studies on natural hazard mortality are most often hazard-specific (e.g. floods,
earthquakes, heat), event specific (e.g. Hurricane Katrina), or lack adequate temporal
or geographic coverage. This makes it difficult to assess mortality from natural
hazards in any systematic way.
This paper examines the spatial patterns of natural hazard mortality at the
county-level for the U.S. from 1970–2004 using a combination of geographical and
epidemiological methods. For more information, see
17 December 2008
Susan Cutter appointed as Munich Re Chair in Social Vulnerability
The Munich Re Foundation and the UN University (UNU-EHS)in Bonn appointed Susan
Cutter as a Chair in Social Vulnerability, extending the commitment to social
vulnerability research to 2012. The aim of the chair is to provide training for
international students in the various aspects of disaster management and prevention.
For more information, visit the
Munich Re Foundation.
15 December 2008
SCGA receives National Geographic grant to develop online hazards atlas
National Geographic Education Foundation has awarded a grant
to the South Carolina Geographic Alliance
to develop an online hazards atlas for South Carolina. The atlas will include maps
of major threats to the state as well informational text and lesson plans. This
new atlas updates The South Carolina Atlas of Environmental Risks and Hazards,
originally published as a CD by the University of South Carolina Press in 1999.
For more information see
the project page.
2008 Ellison Fellowship Awarded to Melissa Berry
The Institute for Southern Studies awarded Melissa a research
fellowship of $4,000 to complete her thesis entitled "Insurance as
it relates to natural hazards: A case study of Florida counties,
1997-2006. For more information see
Institute for Southern Studies.
19 May 2008
2008 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Awarded to Eric Tate
The Graduate Research Fellowship is a highly competitive and
prestigous award that provides Eric with three years of support
($120,000). Eric's research focuses on how the traditional single
hazard-built environment vulnerability analysis can be modified to
include other important considerations such as social vulnerability,
multiple and concurrent hazards, and ecosystem services. His
hypothesis is that the integration of these components will produce
a distinct and more representative view of the magnitude and spatial
variation in hazards vulnerability. This has relevance for how
communities plan, prepare, and respond to hazards. For more information
15 April 2008
Temporal and Spatial Changes in Social Vulnerability to Natural Hazards
During the past four decades (1960–2000), the United States
experienced major transformations in population size, development
patterns, economic conditions, and social characteristics. These social,
economic, and built-environment changes altered the American hazardscape
in profound ways, with more people living in high-hazard areas than
ever before. To improve emergency management, it is important to
recognize the variability in the vulnerable populations exposed to
hazards and to develop place-based emergency plans accordingly. The
concept of social vulnerability identifies sensitive populations that
may be less likely to respond to, cope with, and recover from a natural
disaster. Social vulnerability is complex and dynamic, changing over
space and through time. This paper presents empirical evidence on the
spatial and temporal patterns in social vulnerability in the United
States from 1960 to the present. Using counties as our study unit, we
found that those components that consistently increased social
vulnerability for all time periods were density (urban), race/ethnicity,
and socioeconomic status. The spatial patterning of social vulnerability,
although initially concentrated in certain geographic regions, has
become more dispersed over time. The national trend shows a steady
reduction in social vulnerability, but there is considerable regional
variability, with many counties increasing in social vulnerability
during the past five decades. Download this paper from the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
14 February 2008
Presidential Disaster Declarations and Hazard Occurrences
This paper examines geographic inequities between major hazard
events and U.S. presidential disaster declarations at the county
level from 1965 through 2004. The previous literature suggest that
the disaster declaration process is highly politicized and not
necessarily based on need. We hypothesize that there is a spatial
inequity between the receipt of disaster declarations and the
distribution of major hazard events. The results indicate that the
geographic distribution of disaster declarations is not totally
explained by the spatial pattern of major hazard events. In some
locales, state experience in submitting disaster requests and achieving
success translates into more disaster declarations (holding everything
else constant), providing further evidence of the political nature of
the process.Download the paper from the
1 February 2008
Benchmarking Urban Vulnerability to Terrorist Incidents
We describe a quantitative methodology to characterize the
vulnerability of U.S. urban centers to terrorist attack, using a
place-based vulnerability index and a database of terrorist incidents
and related human casualties. Via generalized linear statistical models,
we study the relationships between vulnerability and terrorist events,
and find that our place-based vulnerability metric significantly
describes both terrorist incidence and occurrence of human casualties
from terrorist events in these urban centers. We also introduce
benchmark analytic technologies from applications in toxicological risk
assessment to this social risk/vulnerability paradigm, and use these
to distinguish levels of high and low urban vulnerability to terrorism.
It is seen that the benchmark approach translates quite flexibly from
its biological roots to this social scientific archetype. Download the
1 December 2007
Eric Tate wins 2008 Jeanne X. Kasperson Award
The Hazards Specialty Group
of the Association of American Geographers awarded Eric the 2008
Jeanne X. Kasperson Student Paper Award for his paper "Web-Based
Hazards and Social Vulnerability Assessment". This research summarizes
the findings of his work on automated, web-based hazard assessments
for counties in South Carolina. More information
15 November 2007
SoVI Featured on the EIIP Virtual Forum
The Emergency Information
Infrastructure Project (EIIP) hosted a virtual forum on
Estimating Disaster Resilience: The Social Vulnerability Index of
the United States (SoVI). During this forum Dr.Cutter discussed the
creation of the SoVI, as well as the potential uses of the index
within the emergency management community.
More information about SoVI, including data and maps are available
13 June 2007
Elizabeth Dunn awarded top honors at Annual University Network Summit
on Research and Education
Elizabeth Dunn was among the four students awarded top honors at
the Annual University Network Summit on Research and Education for
her poster, "Terrorism's Spatiality and Identity through Media Content
Analysis". Her work is supported through the START Center.
26 March 2007
Student wins top prize at Applied Geography conference
Jennifer J. Webb won first place in the student paper competition at the
29th Annual Applied Geography Conference held in Tampa, FL in October 2006.
Her paper, "Vulnerability to Flooding in Columbia County, PA: The Role of
Perception and Experience Among the Elderly", was derived from her master's
thesis at Binghamton University (SUNY).
29 October 2006
Mitchell Discusses the Chlorine Spill in Graniteville, SC
Dr.Mitchell presented the report, "Evacuation Behavior in Response to
the Graniteville, South Carolina Chlorine Spill," to
The Emergency Information Infrastructure Project (EIIP)
This report was supported by the Natural Hazards Information and Applications
Center Quick Response Grant Program. A copy of this report is located at
22 March 2006
Announcing the Winner of the 2006 Grad Student Prize
Congratulations to Ms. Ke Liao at the Department of Geography,
University of South Carolina, who was this year's winner of the Transactions in
GIS graduate student presentation prize. The prize was awarded at the UCGIS 2006
Summer Assembly. Ms. Liao's paper, “A Clustering-Based Approach to a Special
Capacitated Facility Location Problem”, was based on her work on the START
project, and will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal.
New Hazards and Vulnerability Book Published
Hazards, Vulnerability and Environmental Justice by Susan L.
Cutter was just published by Earthscan. See
New Publication in Tourism Management
Dr. Jerry Mitchell recently was published in Tourism Management
for an article concerning the perception of risk at an agricultural fair.
Mitchell, J. T. 2006. “Conflicting Threat Perceptions at a Rural
Agricultural Fair.” Tourism Management. 27(6): 1298-1307.
Hazards Research Lab Participates in Carolina Masters Scholars
For more information, click