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:
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.
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