Apr 092013

Katrina EvacuationAuthor(s): Keith Elder; Sudha Xirasagar; Nancy Miller; Shelly Ann Bowen; Saundra Glover; Crystal Piper

In this study, researchers conducted 6 focus groups with 53 African Americans from New Orleans who were evacuated to Columbia, SC, within 2 months of Hurricane Katrina. The major themes identified related to participants’ decisions to not evacuate were as follows: (1) perceived susceptibility, including optimism about the outcome because of riding out past hurricanes at home and religious faith; (2) perceived severity of the hurricane because of inconsistent evacuation orders; (3) barriers because of financial constraints and neighborhood crime; and (4) perceived racism and inequities. Federal, state, and local government disaster preparedness plans should specify criteria for timely evacuation orders, needed resources, and their allocation (including a decentralized distribution system for cash or vouchers for gas and incidentals during evacuation) and culturally sensitive logistical planning for the evacuation of minority, low-income, and underserved communities. Perceptions of racism and inequities warrant further investigation.  Full Report Here.

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