, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 2267-2286

Evacuees’ reentry concerns and experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike

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Abstract

Managing evacuees’ reentry into their communities after an evacuation can be a major challenge for emergency managers, especially in instances when evacuees return before the official all-clear message. Despite the frequency of post-evacuation reentry into evacuated areas, there have been few studies of this process and the issues returnees expect and experience during the return phase. A survey of evacuees after Hurricane Ike indicates that household compliance with reentry plans was low, with only a minority of returnees (38 %) complying with official reentry plans. An examination of reentry concerns shows that minority ethnicity, lower education, and lower income were associated with higher levels of reentry concerns and, to a lesser extent, with problems experienced after returning. Results also indicate that none of the demographic variables correlated significantly with compliance with official reentry plans and only higher income predicted later entry. However, concerns about reentry traffic predicted earlier reentry and concern about physical risk was related to reentry plan compliance. This study provides insight into the concerns that motivate households’ reentry decisions and can inform the creation of return strategies that account for people’s concerns about their hurricane-impacted communities.