San Francisco Flood Vulnerability

A Health Focused Assessment

The impacts of climate change – heat waves, drought, heavy rains, flooding and Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 11.38.30 AMrising sea levels– are already being felt in communities across California and the United States. These impacts present new challenges for local governments who are working to build resilience. In order to prepare for climate impacts, it’s crucial for communities to understand how flood vulnerability will impact the health of their specific populations.

In San Francisco, local flood inundation coupled with extreme storms is projected to have a direct impact on health outcomes in the city. The most likely health impacts related to flood include physical injuries, waterborne illnesses, respiratory illnesses, vector-borne disease, and food-borne illnesses. Disruption to city medical service, carbon monoxide poisoning, income loss, and mental health impacts caused or triggered by stress, isolation or anxiety are also part of the negative health impact picture.

Four Twenty Seven worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to develop an interactive story map that illustrates the results of their recent assessment of the health impacts of flood and extreme storms in the city. Our story map makes the connection between climate change and public health by enabling users to better understand the socio-demographic indicators that contribute to flood vulnerability.

Explore the App Here:

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Users can explore which areas of San Francisco are most vulnerable to flooding and extreme storms as well as how resident’s quality of housing, pre-existing health conditions, and other indicators of social vulnerability contribute to flood risk. The final map in this series compiles all of these indicators into a flood vulnerability index that identifies which communities in San Francisco are most at risk from the health impacts of flood and extreme storms. These maps illustrate the importance of being able to identify and understand why some communities are more vulnerable than others to specific climate risks so that resources and planning efforts can be prioritized accordingly. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will use our story map to support their outreach and communications efforts as well as their work to coordinate planning and policy efforts to build resilience in San Francisco communities.