Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flooding and Fatalities Due to Hurricane Katrina

18.05.2009
A new study has found that 67% of the fatalities in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005 resulted from direct impacts of the flooding that occurred when the levees collapsed.

Most of the deaths were caused by drowning or physical trauma from debris or building collapse. Some victims who remained in the flood zone in attics or floors that were not flooded died from adverse conditions associated with extended exposure including dehydration, heat stroke, heart attacks, strokes or other conditions associated with lack of medical supplies.

In all, 518 out of the analyzed 771 deaths in New Orleans resulted from direct exposure to the flooding, according to the results of the study “Loss of Life Caused by the Flooding of New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina: Analysis of the Relationship Between Flood Characteristics and Mortality,” which is reported in the May issue of the peer-reviewed journal Risk Analysis, published by the Society for Risk Analysis.

Another 106 deaths were indirect and occurred in public shelters and hospitals in the flooded area. These fatalities were due to lack of necessary medical services, chronic conditions, stress-induced heart attacks or strokes or violence, according to Sebastiaan Jonkman at the University of Delft in The Netherlands and co-authors from Louisiana State University (LSU). The remaining 147 deaths occurred outside of the flooded area. Jonkman and his colleagues found that disease and toxic contamination caused by the flooding did not contribute significantly to the fatality rate.

“The elderly were the most vulnerable. Nearly 60% of fatalities were over 60 years and 85% were over 51 years,” Jonkman’s team found. He believes that this was due to elderly people’s inability to evacuate easily and their vulnerability if they stayed and tried to survive the hazards of an event of this magnitude.

Mortality rates were highest in areas near levee breaches, particularly the severe breaches in the Lower 9th Ward where flooding occurred extremely rapidly and the velocity of the water caused drowning and collapsed buildings.

The research team describes their results as preliminary because the mortality data are incomplete and some of the flooding characteristics are based on simulations. However, they believe that despite the limitations, the results provide important insights into the relationship between flood characteristics and mortality. In particular, contrary to current theory, they found that the Katrina flood was very comparable to historical large-scale floods, including the number of people killed. “Overall, the available data for New Orleans do not support the claim that mortality among those exposed during a contemporary flood event is lower than during historical events,” Jonkman explained.

Based on this study, he said that “more specific disaster management strategies are needed to target elderly populations and that the direct impacts of large flooding events can be reduced with improved preparation of health care facilities and systems in and outside of flood-prone areas.”

Source: Sebastiaan N. Jonkman, s.n.jonkman@tudelft.nl

Kelly Classic | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.hps.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>