HURRICANE KATRINA: A SOCIAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER
Quinn, S. C.
Quinn, S. C. (2005) HURRICANE KATRINA: A SOCIAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH DISASTER. American Journal of Public Health, 96 (2). p. 204.
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Hurricane Katrina made it evident that natural disasters occur in the same social, historical, and political environment in which disparities in health already exist. The hurricane was only the disaster agent; what created the magnitude of the disaster was the underlying vulnerability of the affected communities. In New Orleans, where 69% of the population is African American and 23% live below the poverty line, thousands of African Americans were stranded after the evacuation order. The risks from the heat, floodwaters, and other factors, combined with existing social disparities in health, contributed to an exacerbation of chronic health conditions, and distrust of government agencies.