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Spatial Analysis of Health Risk of Droughts in US Counties for 2010-2014 and 2015-2019
  • Babak Jalalzadeh Fard,
  • Jagadeesh Puvvula,
  • Jesse Bell
Babak Jalalzadeh Fard
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jagadeesh Puvvula
University of Nebraska Medical Center
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Jesse Bell
University of Nebraska Medical Center
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Drought is probably the most complex among natural hazards to assess its effects. While most drought indicators and risk assessments are developed around agricultural or water shortages effects of drought, its effect on human health is highly understudied because of its unclear and complicated path towards physical and mental health effects. This study assesses the health risk of the latest decadal drought over the US counties by spatially superimposing several proxy variables of counties’ health vulnerabilities over their drought levels. We have used different variations of Local Moran’s I statistics to assess the spatial distribution of drought-vulnerability in two five-year study periods (2010-2014 and 2015-2019) and their differences. Our results show large clusters of significant risk increase in the west due to increases in both vulnerability and hazard indicators in the second study period. Since the used vulnerability variables include indicators of agriculture, drinking water, and socioeconomic prosperities, the results of this study can help researchers and policymakers in these areas to distinguish areas in need of higher attention for interdisciplinary study and planning in national or regional scales.