Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Survey finds many Katrina evacuees had chronic health problems and no health insurance


To give voice to people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods, The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a unique survey of evacuees in shelters in the Houston area. One-third (34%) of Katrina evacuees report that they were trapped in their homes and had to be rescued. Half (50%) of those who were trapped said they waited three or more days to be rescued.

More than 1 in 10 (14%) Hurricane Katrina evacuees report a family member, neighbor or friend was killed by the storm or subsequent flooding, and more than half report that their home was destroyed (55%) Also, the survey found that 2 in 5 (40%) spent at least a day living outside on a street or overpass, and 13% report that some members of their immediate family are still missing. The survey also found that evacuees in Houston shelters face serious health challenges that will complicate relief and recovery efforts.

Key health-related findings include:

  • 52% report having no health insurance coverage at the time of the hurricane. Of those with coverage, 34% say it is through Medicaid and 16% through Medicare. Before the hurricane 66% of people evacuated to Houston shelters used hospital or clinics as their main source of care and of those, a majority (54%) used Charity Hospital of New Orleans, substantially more than the second most common care site (University Hospital of New Orleans, at 8%).
  • 33% report experiencing health problems or injuries as a result of the hurricane and 78% of them are currently receiving care for their ailments.
  • 41% report chronic health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
  • 43% say they are supposed to be taking prescription medications, and of those, 29% percent report having problems getting the prescription drugs they need.
  • Of the 61% who did not evacuate before the storm, 38% said they were either physically unable to leave or had to care for someone who was physically unable to leave.
  • 39% report that they did not get help from any government agency or voluntary agency during the flood and evacuation.

The survey design was co-directed by Robert J. Blendon, Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It is striking how many days people went without medicine, food and water without help from any agency of government or volunteer group," said Blendon. "Many of those who did not evacuate were in poor health and circumstances to begin with and many said they were physically unable to leave."

Among those surveyed, 98% are from the New Orleans area. In surviving this tragedy, an overwhelming majority of the evacuees in Houston shelters (92%) say that religion played an important role in helping them get through the past two weeks.

The Survey of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees is based on a sample of 680 randomly selected adults ages 18 years and older, staying in the Houston Reliant Park Complex (which included the Reliant Astrodome and the Reliant Center), the George R. Brown Convention Center, and five smaller Red Cross shelters in the greater Houston area. Interviews were conducted face-to-face September 10-12, 2005. The margin of error for overall results is plus or minus 4 percentage points.The survey was conducted and analyzed jointly by The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Interviews were conducted by 28 professional, Houston-based interviewers under the supervision of staff from Kaiser and ICR/International Communications Research, and with input from The Post staff in Houston. The Red Cross gave The Post/Kaiser/Harvard interviewing team permission to interview at the various centers, but was not a co-sponsor of the survey and bears no responsibility for results presented here.

Full survey toplines and methodology and a link to the Washington Post article are available online.

Robin Herman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>