Population Explosion on the Coast - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Population Explosion on the Coast

WASHINGTON (AP) - There's a population explosion affecting the nation's coastal areas and that's posing a challenge for emergency management officials in the event of hurricanes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says coastal area growth complicate evacuations and make emergency response more complex. NOAA's National Ocean Service director Richard Spinrad says vertical evacuation -- moving people upstairs in taller structures -- is a possibility in some areas, like those at risk of tsunamis.

It's also been proposed in areas such as New Orleans where hurricanes or floods could threaten large urban areas with limited evacuation opportunities. Overall, the new study says 153-million people live in coastal counties, an increase of 33-million since 1980. And the area is expected to add another 12-million by 2015.

That growth includes many middle-aged people and those nearing retirement age and is also likely to pose problems to environmental management, urban development and providing services to new residents.

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