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Experiences of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston shelters: Implications for future planning


  • Brodie, M.
  • Weltzien, E.
  • Altman, D.
  • Blendon, R.J.
  • Benson, J.M.


Objectives. To shed light on how the public health community can promote the recovery of Hurricane Katrina victims and protect people in future disasters, we examined the experiences of evacuees housed in Houston area shelters 2 weeks after the hurricane. Methods. A survey was conducted September 10 through 12, 2005, with 680 randomly selected respondents who were evacuated to Houston from the Gulf Coast as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Interviews were conducted in Red Cross shelters in the greater Houston area. Results. Many evacuees suffered physical and emotional stress during the storm and its aftermath, including going without adequate food and water. In comparison with New Orleans and Louisiana residents overall, disproportionate numbers of this group were African American, had low incomes, and had no health insurance coverage. Many had chronic health conditions and relied heavily on the New Orleans public hospital system, which was destroyed in the storm. Conclusions. Our results highlight the need for better plans for emergency communication and evacuation of low-income and disabled citizens in future disasters and shed light on choices facing policymakers in planning for the long-term health care needs of vulnerable populations.

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  • Brodie, M. & Weltzien, E. & Altman, D. & Blendon, R.J. & Benson, J.M., 2006. "Experiences of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston shelters: Implications for future planning," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 96(8), pages 1402-1408.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2005.084475_9
    DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.084475

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    Cited by:

    1. Dongkwan Lee & Soyeon Yoon & Eun-Seon Park & Yuseung Kim & D.K. Yoon, 2018. "Factors Contributing to Disaster Evacuation: The Case of South Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-16, October.
    2. Tatyana Deryugina & David Molitor, 2020. "Does When You Die Depend on Where You Live? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(11), pages 3602-3633, November.
    3. Sastry, Narayan & Gregory, Jesse, 2013. "The effect of Hurricane Katrina on the prevalence of health impairments and disability among adults in New Orleans: Differences by age, race, and sex," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 121-129.
    4. Elizabeth Fussell & Elizabeth Harris, 2014. "Homeownership and Housing Displacement After Hurricane Katrina Among Low-Income African-American Mothers in New Orleans," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1086-1100, December.
    5. Cassar, Alessandra & Healy, Andrew & von Kessler, Carl, 2017. "Trust, Risk, and Time Preferences After a Natural Disaster: Experimental Evidence from Thailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 90-105.
    6. Widener, Michael J. & Horner, Mark W., 2011. "A hierarchical approach to modeling hurricane disaster relief goods distribution," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 821-828.
    7. Raker, Ethan J. & Lowe, Sarah R. & Arcaya, Mariana C. & Johnson, Sydney T. & Rhodes, Jean & Waters, Mary C., 2019. "Twelve years later: The long-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Katrina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 242(C).
    8. Adam Pel & Michiel Bliemer & Serge Hoogendoorn, 2012. "A review on travel behaviour modelling in dynamic traffic simulation models for evacuations," Transportation, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 97-123, January.
    9. Fussell, Elizabeth & Lowe, Sarah R., 2014. "The impact of housing displacement on the mental health of low-income parents after Hurricane Katrina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 137-144.
    10. Matsubayashi, Tetsuya & Sawada, Yasuyuki & Ueda, Michiko, 2013. "Natural disasters and suicide: Evidence from Japan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 126-133.
    11. Dian Sun & Jee Eun Kang & Rajan Batta & Yan Song, 2017. "Optimization of Evacuation Warnings Prior to a Hurricane Disaster," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-29, November.
    12. Yang Zhou & Ning Li & Wenxiang Wu & Jidong Wu & Peijun Shi, 2014. "Local Spatial and Temporal Factors Influencing Population and Societal Vulnerability to Natural Disasters," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 34(4), pages 614-639, April.
    13. Paxson, Christina & Fussell, Elizabeth & Rhodes, Jean & Waters, Mary, 2012. "Five years later: Recovery from post traumatic stress and psychological distress among low-income mothers affected by Hurricane Katrina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 150-157.
    14. Kebin Deng & Zhong Ding & Yalu Wang, 2020. "Peasant youth experiences of CEOs, risk aversion and corporate performance," Rationality and Society, , vol. 32(3), pages 278-312, August.
    15. Tammy Henderson & Maria Sirois & Angela Chen & Christopher Airriess & David Swanson & David Banks, 2009. "After a Disaster: Lessons in Survey Methodology from Hurricane Katrina," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 28(1), pages 67-92, February.
    16. Tatyana Deryugina & David Molitor, 2020. "Does When You Die Depend on Where You Live? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(11), pages 3602-3633, November.
    17. Morris, Katherine Ann & Deterding, Nicole M., 2016. "The emotional cost of distance: Geographic social network dispersion and post-traumatic stress among survivors of Hurricane Katrina," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 56-65.
    18. Rocío Calvo & Mariana Arcaya & Christopher Baum & Sarah Lowe & Mary Waters, 2015. "Happily Ever After? Pre-and-Post Disaster Determinants of Happiness Among Survivors of Hurricane Katrina," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 427-442, April.
    19. Alberto E. Chong & David A. Fleming & Hernán D. Bejarano, 2011. "Trust and Trustworthiness in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Experimental Evidence from the 2010 Chilean Earthquake," Working Papers 2011-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

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