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Engineering education in the wake of hurricane Katrina
Marybeth Lima
Journal of Biological Engineering , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1754-1611-1-6
Abstract: Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast on August 29, 2005. This natural disaster catastrophically affected the U.S. gulf states and negatively impacted the entire country. My place of residence, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, survived hurricane Katrina with serious but non-catastrophic damage because the edge of the 40 mile wide eye of the storm passed 90 miles to the east of the city.I experienced many events analytically and from an engineering perspective, for example, the doubling of our city population, traffic gridlock, loss of communication (two days), loss of power (three days), and a gas shortage (none for five days, shortage for five weeks). Volunteering in the aftermath of Katrina provided many more experiences that were primarily emotional. I volunteered at the University of New Orleans satellite office that was established on the Louisiana State University (LSU) campus just after the hurricane. Employees were supposed to call in with contact information and their evacuation location; about half the calls I fielded were from relatives of the employees who were trying to ensure that their loved ones were okay. On the rare occasions that a loved one's relative had already contacted us, I could inform the caller that the person was safe, but I wasn't allowed to provide the person's phone number for liability reasons.School classrooms and boy and girl scout troops from all over the country sent school supplies for displaced children; while unpacking these supplies, our public school distribution team read heartfelt words of hope and kindness that frequently brought us to tears.The LSU AgCenter livestock barn, the Parker Coliseum, was turned into a holding area for pets evacuated from the storm. Of all my experiences, the wall of animals seeking people was the most poignant. While staring at approximately 150 Polaroid pictures of animals replete with their names and tags and the words OWNER MISSING printed on every photograph, I realized that I never would have con
Public Libraries Can Play an Important Role in the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster. A Review of: Welsh, T. S. & Higgins, S. E. (2009). Public libraries post-Hurricane Katrina: A pilot study. Library Review, 58(9), 652-659.  [cached]
Virginia Wilson
Evidence Based Library and Information Practice , 2010,
Abstract: Objective – This paper analyzes Hurricane Katrina-related narratives to document the challenges faced by public libraries after the disaster and the disaster-relief services these libraries provided. Design – A qualitative thematic analysis of narratives obtained by convenience sampling. Setting – Narratives were collected and analyzed in 2005 and 2006 across the Gulf Coast area of the United States. Subjects – Seventy-two library and information science students enrolled in the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Library and Information Science. Many worked in local libraries. Methods – In this pilot study, studentsvolunteered to participate in a confidential process that involved telling their stories of their post-Hurricane Katrina experiences. Data was collected in a natural setting (the libraries in which the students worked), and inductive reasoning was used to build themes based on these research questions: What post-disaster problems related to public libraries were noted in the students’ narratives? What post-disaster public library services were noted in the narratives?NVivo7 qualitative analysis software was used to analyze and code the narratives. Passages related to public libraries were coded by library location and student. These passages were analyzed for themes related to post-disaster challenges and disaster-recovery services pertaining to public libraries. Main Results – Ten of the 72 narratives contained passages related to public libraries. The libraries included four in Alabama, one in Louisiana, and five in Mississippi. Results related to the first research question (What post-disaster problems related to public libraries were noted in the students’ narrative?) were physical damage to the building, from light damage to total destruction (reported in 8 or 80% of the students’ narratives), and inundation by refugees, evacuees, and relief workers (reported in 8 or 80% of the narratives). Results pertaining to the second research question (What post-disaster public library services were noted in the narratives?) included providing information for things such as providing information via the use of computers and the filling out of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Red Cross aid forms (6 or 60% of the narratives included this), listening and providing comfort (5 or 50% of the narratives), and volunteering and donating, both from others and of the students’ own time, money, or materials (noted by 5 or 50% of the narratives). Conclusion – The researchers concluded that while public libraries suffered devastation durin
Hurricane Katrina – one hospital's experience
Robert G Aucoin
Critical Care , 2005, DOI: 10.1186/cc3941
Abstract: Hurricane Katrina came ashore in Louisiana during the early morning hours of 29 August 2005. The coastline of Louisiana, the city of New Orleans, and the heart of the state changed that same day. This is a brief account of one hospital's role before, during, and after the storm.Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL) is the dominant health care institution in the Greater Baton Rouge area. It is also the largest private medical center in Louisiana, with 763 licensed beds. In a given year, OLOL treats approximately 25,000 patients in the hospital and serves about 350,000 persons through outpatient locations with the assistance of almost 900 physicians and 3000 staff members. The pediatric emergency department sees approximately 25,000 children every year. The adult side treats more than 75,000.OLOL has a disaster plan in place as part of the general care program. This disaster plan is geared toward natural and man-made disasters that occur in the immediate area. Disaster drills are carried out on a regular basis. There is a disaster call tree in place throughout the organization, including a command and control structure to deal with immediate needs. These plans have been in place for years and are updated on a regular basis.On Sunday, 28 August, the first Administrative Report (Katrina Update I) was issued by Mr Kirk Wilson, President and Chief Operating Officer of OLOL, at 12:00 hours. The following is an excerpt."Katrina is a category V storm. Hurricane force winds may well extend to Baton Rouge area by as early as 7 a.m. Monday. New Orleans and many of the parishes south and east of Baton Rouge are evacuating. We expect to receive hospital to hospital transfers out of the New Orleans area for patients who cannot be sent further north. We may also receive unofficial direct patient transfers in the ER [emergency room]. Some hospitals in New Orleans may attempt to stay open. Those that do send patients may send staff with them if possible. This is all bei
Measuring Exposure in Hurricane Katrina: A Meta-Analysis and an Integrative Data Analysis  [PDF]
Christian S. Chan, Jean E. Rhodes
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092899
Abstract: To date there is no consensus on the operationalization of exposure severity in the study of the impact of natural disasters. This is problematic because incomplete and inconsistent measurement of exposure limits the internal and external validity of disaster studies. The current paper examined the predictive validity of severity measures in two interrelated studies of Hurricane Katrina survivors. First, in a meta-analysis of eight studies that measured both exposure severity and posttraumatic stress, the effect size was estimated to be r = .266. The moderating effects of sample and study characteristics were examined and we found that minority status and number of stressors assessed were significant moderators. Second, in an integrative data analysis of five independent samples of Hurricane Katrina survivors, the impact of specific disaster-related stressors on mental health was compared. Threat to physical integrity of self and others were found to have the strongest association with posttraumatic stress (PTS) and general psychological distress (GPD). The lack of basic necessities, such as food, water, and medical care, and loss of pet were also found to be strongly associated with both PTS and GPD. The results from the two studies are integrated and their implication for disaster research and relief are discussed.
Mental illness and suicidality after Hurricane Katrina
Kessler,Ronald C.; Galea,Sandro; Jones,Russell T.; Parker,Holly A.; ,;
Bulletin of the World Health Organization , 2006, DOI: 10.1590/S0042-96862006001200008
Abstract: objective: to estimate the impact of hurricane katrina on mental illness and suicidality by comparing results of a post-katrina survey with those of an earlier survey. methods: the national comorbidity survey-replication, conducted between february 2001 and february 2003, interviewed 826 adults in the census divisions later affected by hurricane katrina. the post-katrina survey interviewed a new sample of 1043 adults who lived in the same area before the hurricane. identical questions were asked about mental illness and suicidality. the post-katrina survey also assessed several dimensions of personal growth that resulted from the trauma (for example, increased closeness to a loved one, increased religiosity). outcome measures used were the k6 screening scale of serious mental illness and mild-moderate mental illness and questions about suicidal ideation, plans and attempts. findings: respondents to the post-katrina survey had a significantly higher estimated prevalence of serious mental illness than respondents to the earlier survey (11.3% after katrina versus 6.1% before; c21= 10.9; p < 0.001) and mild-moderate mental illness (19.9% after katrina versus 9.7% before; c21 = 22.5; p < 0.001). among respondents estimated to have mental illness, though, the prevalence of suicidal ideation and plans was significantly lower in the post-katrina survey (suicidal ideation 0.7% after katrina versus 8.4% before; c21 = 13.1; p < 0.001; plans for suicide 0.4% after katrina versus 3.6% before; c21 = 6.0; p = 0.014). this lower conditional prevalence of suicidality was strongly related to two dimensions of personal growth after the trauma (faith in one's own ability to rebuild one's life, and realization of inner strength), without which between-survey differences in suicidality were insignificant. conclusion: despite the estimated prevalence of mental illness doubling after hurricane katrina, the prevalence of suicidality was unexpectedly low. the role of post-traumatic personal
Postpartum mental health after Hurricane Katrina: A cohort study
Emily W Harville, Xu Xiong, Gabriella Pridjian, Karen Elkind-Hirsch, Pierre Buekens
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth , 2009, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-9-21
Abstract: Interviews were conducted in 2006–2007 with women who had been pregnant during or shortly after Hurricane Katrina. 292 New Orleans and Baton Rouge women were interviewed at delivery and 2 months postpartum. Depression was assessed using the Edinburgh Depression Scale and PTSD using the Post-Traumatic Stress Checklist. Women were asked about their experience of the hurricane with questions addressing threat, illness, loss, and damage. Chi-square tests and log-binomial/Poisson models were used to calculate associations and relative risks (RR).Black women and women with less education were more likely to have had a serious experience of the hurricane. 18% of the sample met the criteria for depression and 13% for PTSD at two months postpartum. Feeling that one's life was in danger was associated with depression and PTSD, as were injury to a family member and severe impact on property. Overall, two or more severe experiences of the storm was associated with an increased risk for both depression (relative risk (RR) 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08–2.89) and PTSD (RR 3.68, 95% CI 1.80–7.52).Postpartum women who experience natural disaster severely are at increased risk for mental health problems, but overall rates of depression and PTSD do not seem to be higher than in studies of the general population.Disaster increases community psychopathology [1], with depression and PTSD being especially common [1,2]. In most cases, symptoms recede with time, and many victims prove resilient [3]. However, a certain proportion of the population will develop long-lasting problems [4]. Some aspects of the disaster, such as number of lives lost and whether it was natural or human-caused, may enhance psychopathology [1]. The person's own experience of the hurricane also influences their later mental health. Studies have shown that fearing one's life was at risk [4-7], having a relative die [8,9], and being injured [4] all predict psychopathology.Personal characteristics also affect
Predictors of Business Return in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina  [PDF]
Nina S. N. Lam, Helbert Arenas, Kelley Pace, James LeSage, Richard Campanella
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047935
Abstract: We analyzed the business reopening process in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, which hit the region on August 29, 2005, to better understand what the major predictors were and how their impacts changed through time. A telephone survey of businesses in New Orleans was conducted in October 2007, 26 months after Hurricane Katrina. The data were analyzed using a modified spatial probit regression model to evaluate the importance of each predictor variable through time. The results suggest that the two most important reopening predictors throughout all time periods were the flood depth at the business location and business size as represented by its wages in a logarithmic form. Flood depth was a significant negative predictor and had the largest marginal effects on the reopening probabilities. Smaller businesses had lower reopening probabilities than larger ones. However, the nonlinear response of business size to the reopening probability suggests that recovery aid would be most effective for smaller businesses than for larger ones. The spatial spillovers effect was a significant positive predictor but only for the first nine months. The findings show clearly that flood protection is the overarching issue for New Orleans. A flood protection plan that reduces the vulnerability and length of flooding would be the first and foremost step to mitigate the negative effects from climate-related hazards and enable speedy recovery. The findings cast doubt on the current coastal protection efforts and add to the current debate of whether coastal Louisiana will be sustainable or too costly to protect from further land loss and flooding given the threat of sea-level rise. Finally, a plan to help small businesses to return would also be an effective strategy for recovery, and the temporal window of opportunity that generates the greatest impacts would be the first 6~9 months after the disaster.
Earth oscillations induced by Hurricane Katrina  [PDF]
Randall D. Peters
Physics , 2006,
Abstract: Seismograph records show that Katrina was responsible for many motions of the Earth in addition to the well known microseismic `noise' that is known to accompany oceanic disturbances.
Identifying the Economic Effects of Salt Water Intrusion after Hurricane Katrina  [cached]
Vereda Johnson Williams
Journal of Sustainable Development , 2010, DOI: 10.5539/jsd.v3n1p29
Abstract: Hurricane Katrina made landfall August 29, 2005 becoming the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Katrina caused widespread loss of life, with over 700 bodies recovered in New Orleans by October 23, 2005. Before Hurricane Katrina, the region supported approximately one million non-farm jobs, with 600,000 of them in New Orleans. The ecological consequences were considerable including storm surge floods into coastal areas. These ecological impacts are still being felt throughout the region through human-driven coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion—issues that have long been damaging the region's natural storm buffers—were made worse by the hurricane. Specifically this research will: (1) provide current updates of the economic and ecological impacts from Katrina (2) review the current literature relating to salt water intrusion and (3) identify the economic impact of salt water erosion from hurricane Katrina.
A Comparison of HWRF, ARW and NMM Models in Hurricane Katrina (2005) Simulation  [PDF]
Venkata B. Dodla,Srinivas Desamsetti,Anjaneyulu Yerramilli
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2011, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph8062447
Abstract: The life cycle of Hurricane Katrina (2005) was simulated using three different modeling systems of Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) mesoscale model. These are, HWRF (Hurricane WRF) designed specifically for hurricane studies and WRF model with two different dynamic cores as the Advanced Research WRF (ARW) model and the Non-hydrostatic Mesoscale Model (NMM). The WRF model was developed and sourced from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), incorporating the advances in atmospheric simulation system suitable for a broad range of applications. The HWRF modeling system was developed at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) based on the NMM dynamic core and the physical parameterization schemes specially designed for tropics. A case study of Hurricane Katrina was chosen as it is one of the intense hurricanes that caused severe destruction along the Gulf Coast from central Florida to Texas. ARW, NMM and HWRF models were designed to have two-way interactive nested domains with 27 and 9 km resolutions. The three different models used in this study were integrated for three days starting from 0000 UTC of 27 August 2005 to capture the landfall of hurricane Katrina on 29 August. The initial and time varying lateral boundary conditions were taken from NCEP global FNL (final analysis) data available at 1 degree resolution for ARW and NMM models and from NCEP GFS data at 0.5 degree resolution for HWRF model. The results show that the models simulated the intensification of Hurricane Katrina and the landfall on 29 August 2005 agreeing with the observations. Results from these experiments highlight the superior performance of HWRF model over ARW and NMM models in predicting the track and intensification of Hurricane Katrina.
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