Hurricanes - Health, Environmental, Social and Cultural Impact
EPA, CDC issue joint New Orleans Needs Assessment
"EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formed a joint task force to advise local and state officials of the potential health and environmental risks associated with returning to the City of New Orleans. The initial Environmental Health Needs & Habitability Assessment,issued September 17, 2005, identifies a number of barriers to be overcome and critical decisions to be made prior to reinhabiting New Orleans.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Agriculture Street Landfill
"This web page provides background information and details about the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund Project in New Orleans " that began in 1998. Includes updates on water sampling and other EPA activities related to flood cleanup after Hurricane Katrina of this Superfund site that housed "debris and waste resulting from cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy" and that was found to have "elevated levels of lead, arsenic and carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs)."
Grist Magazine: Storm Front and Center
Collection of stories on environmental aspects of Hurricane Katrina. Topics include journalists' coverage of connections between climate change and the hurricane, opinions about global warming and hurricanes, planning for disasters, environmental justice concerns, the area along the Mississippi River in Louisiana (known as "Cancer Alley") that is "home to more than 140 oil refineries and chemical plants," and more.
Hurricanes Growing Fiercer With Global Warming
This July 2005 press release describes a study that concludes that "hurricanes have grown significantly more powerful and destructive over the last three decades due in part to global warming." Includes a link to the website of the MIT meteorology professor "who warns that this trend could continue." The professor's site includes a link to the article about the study and to related material. From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Full Report (PDF; 100 KB) Potential Toxic Chemical Sites in New Orleans
New Orleans--Toxic Chemicals
Source: OMB Watch
Potential Toxic Chemical Sites in New Orleans
"This page has been put together for disaster responders, media, activists, and anyone else interested in an initial list of known, major sites that store, use, or produce toxic chemicals within New Orleans, LA. This list only covers the three parishes (counties) of Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard. This is simply a list of all sites within these three counties that were tracked in several major EPA databases before the flood. We do not know whether any of these sites have in fact been affected by the Katrina hurricane or the flood." (viaSecrecy News )
Hurricane Katrina & The Arts
Collection of links to arts-related coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Topics include the status of the Louisiana Philharmonic, New Orleans Opera, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and other cultural institutions and artists. From ArtsJournal, "a weekday digest of some of the best arts and cultural journalism in the English-speaking world."
National Trust for Historic Preservation: Hurricane Katrina Resources
Collection of links to resources relating to rebuilding and repairing historic sites in New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Includes links to news, a guide to treatment of flood-damaged older and historic buildings, volunteering and donating opportunities, and links to related sites. From the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Hurricane Recovery Information
Annotated links to information for museums and libraries about disaster recovery (clean-up and monetary and technical assistance). Provides status reports from museums, zoos, and other institutions in the affected areas, as well as ways to contribute assistance. From the American Association of Museums (AAM).
New Orleans: Global Food Heritage City Endangered
"Just to remind us why New Orleans means so much to so many people, here is our partial list ... of this city's unique food history and heritage." Includes links to information about the "fusion of cultures and cuisines: Creole, Cajun, French, Spanish, African-American, [and] American"; the French Market; coffee; and other New Orleans culinary matters. From the Food Museum.
ALA Adopt a Library Program: Helping Libraries in the Gulf Region Recover and Rebuild
Libraries of all types can help libraries in the Gulf region affected by Hurricane Katrina through this "Adopt a Library Program" from the American Library Association. "Support may come in many ways (books, computers, fundraising, volunteers, etc.)."
Libraries and Hurricane Katrina
Collection of resources for libraries and librarians related to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Includes a link to ongoing news coverage, and links to resources for financial donations, book donations, housing, employment, and disaster recovery and preservation. Also includes links to reading resources to help victims cope and to sites with general relief information. From the American Library Association (ALA).
Hurricane Katrina Report: Affected Libraries
"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's August 29  landfall on the Gulf Coast, the fate of many of the region's libraries is still uncertain. American Libraries will post news of any library-related damage on an ongoing basis as we learn of it." The site posts quotes from newspapers and links to a factsheet about cleaning up libraries after a disaster. From the American Library Association (ALA).
Emergency News: 2005 Hurricane Season
Information from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals about Hurricane Katrina. Includes a FAQ covering health precautions for cleanup workers, contacts for medical professionals who want to volunteer services, and questions about vaccines and immunization records. Also provides news about numbers and locations of deceased victims, water boil orders, facilities and services, and actions of the health department.
NIEHS Response to Hurricane Katrina
"This site is targeted to provide environmental health information to frontline public health and safety workers deployed to impacted communities." It features documents, Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, and links to information about chemical and biological pollutants, chemical exposure in humans, worker safety during flood cleanup, and other environmental health and emergency response topics related to Hurricane Katrina. From the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
University of California (UC): Hurricane Katrina Aftermath and Recovery Efforts
UC campuses, medical centers, and national laboratories "are working to identify the personnel [and] expertise ... to support the immediate clinical and public health emergency needs, as well as the long-term health recovery efforts, in the Gulf Coast region." Locate campuses, labs, and UC experts who can help with "issues related to natural disaster detection, preparedness, infrastructure reconstruction, mental health and other relief efforts." Includes information for affected students.
Hurricane Katrina: Links to Health Information including Toxicology and Environmental Health
Dozens of links to high-quality information about hazardous materials, environmental cleanup and recovery, pests, drinking water, food safety, mold, farming and agriculture, animal rescue, and specific chemicals. Some information also available in Spanish. From the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine.
Public Health Alert For Flood Victims: Vibrio Vulnificus
Information about "Vibrio sepsis [which] is due to a virulent, gram-negative rod infection caused by Vibrio vulnificus, a non-cholera vibrio. Infection is either through ... a small scratch, through the GI tract when swallowed by swimmers, or through ingestion of raw shellfish." It is among the health problems reported in people exposed to the flood waters in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. This page features images of the lesions and information about diagnosing and treating the infection. From a health care software company.
Essential Facts About the Victims of Hurricane Katrina
Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
Essential Facts About the Victims of Hurricane Katrina
"Many Hurricane Katrina victims faced difficult living conditions even before the storm arrived. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama are, respectively, the first, second, and eighth poorest states in the nation. And of the 5.8 million individuals in these states who lived in the areas struck hardest by the hurricane, more than one million lived in poverty prior to the hurricane’s onset. The information provided below helps explain why relief efforts are so important to Katrina victims. Many of the storm’s victims have little or no resources on which to rely in these difficult times."
Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences
"As analyses and 'spin' of the Katrina crisis grow, we confront the sort of public issue to which a social science response is urgently needed. Accordingly, the SSRC has organized this web forum addressing the implications of the tragedy that extend beyond 'natural disaster,' 'engineering failures,' 'cronyism' or other categories of interpretation that do not directly examine the underlying issues—political, social and economic—laid bare by the events surrounding Katrina. Essays on this site explore a number of subjects...."
" Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences"
Hurricane Katrina--Social Sciences--Essays
Source: Social Science Research Council
Hurricane Katrina--Social Issues
Source: PBS, Online News Hour
Rescue Efforts and Race
"President Bush, who has faced withering criticism for the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina, visited the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast for the second time in four days as some activists and commentators continued to question the potential role race has played in the aid effort. Three experts give their perspectives on how race and class has played into the unfolding crisis." Transcript.
Could Katrina Damage Prompt Huge Wave of Black Migration?
This article considers the idea that "if those forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina end up re-building their lives in new locations, it could be the largest U.S. black resettlement since the Great Migration of the 20th Century lured southern blacks to the North in search of jobs and better lives." Includes link to related news coverage about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Another Crisis in the Making! How the Subprime Mortgage Industry is Sandbagging Katrina-affected Homeowners
Hurricane Katrina--Subprime Mortgage Lenders
Source: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
How the Subprime Mortgage Industry is Sandbagging Katrina-affected Homeowners (PDF; 140 KB)
"Most banks and sevicers of prime loans have followed Freddie and Fannie’s lead and are deferring payments for 90 days on home mortgage, home equity, and HELOC loans. They are also not assessing late fees and are not reporting late pays to credit agencies during the 90 days. On the other hand, most subprime servicers are only suspending payments, late fees, and credit reporting for 30 days, and many of these are only granting relief on a case-by-case basis.... The policies of how subprime lenders treat hurricane-affected homeowners is particularly significant due to the large concentration of subprime loans among African-Americans. Using data released recently by the Federal Reserve, we found that subprime loans accounted for almost half of all the mortgages made to African-Americans."
Hurricane Katrina: Reconstruction Through Mitigation
Source: Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc.
Hurricane Katrina: Reconstruction Through Mitigation (PDF; 168 KB)
"Once the monumental job of attending to the pressing human needs through rescue and relief, immediate response and short term recovery is well underway, the nation will turn its attention to reconstruction of the heavily damaged communities and properties. All of us will contribute to this reconstruction through not only our personal contributions, but with our tax dollars. Likewise, there must be an evaluation of how we plan, mitigate, and respond to natural hazards that ensures the nation is not ignoring natural hazards while positioning to deal with human caused disasters and acts of terrorism. We must rebuild in a way that will reduce the risk of flooding and hurricanes in the future, and the human suffering that follows."
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