Policy Recommendations

Anna Williams Shavers, Katrina's Children: Revealing the Broken Promise of Education, Thurgood Marshall Law Review, Spring 2006, 31 T. Marshall L. Rev. 499

This article discusses how the New Orleans school system was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina, how black children are disadvantaged by the current funding scheme for the educational system, and makes suggests for how the system and disaster response can be improved.


Katrina Response:  Protecting the Children of the Storm, Save the Children, Issue Brief, Sept. 2006

Save the Children, a leading independent organization creating lasting change for children in the US and aboard, responded within days to the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.  This report reviews Save the Children’s response, the needs of the children affected by Hurricane Katrina and the response by other agencies, as well as recommendation for future responses to natural disasters.


Katrina's Children; A Call to Conscience and Action, Children's Defense Fund, May. 2006, Children's Defense Fund, Katrina's Children: A call to conscience and action (May 2006) avilable at http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Programs_Katrina.

A comprehensive report by The Children’s Defense Fund that reports on the effects of Hurricane Katrina on children. The report points out the tremendous response to Katrina survivors during and immediately after the storm but also reveals the continued need for support.  The report recommends a list of action steps and policy changes to help Katrina’s children, a list of resources to help Katrina’s children and reports on the status of children in Katrina States before the storm.   Additionally, the report provides a number of compelling and heart wrenching stories of individual children affected by Katrina.


Emily Chamlee-Wright, After the Storm:  Social Capital Regrouping in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 2006, Global Prosperity Initiative, Working Paper 70

"This paper examines the role social capital is playing in the post-Katrina recovery process, in particular, how social capital resources are being deployed to overcome the collective action problem associated with post-disaster recovery. The usual assumption is that large-scale government response offers the only viable path towards successful recovery. Qualitative analysis presented here suggests that the resources found within civil society represent an alternative paradigm for how communities can rebound. We identify four patterns by which residents and business owners are creating and leveraging social capital assets in their interactions with each other and other elements within civil society. We conclude that government disaster response and redevelopment policy should be crafted and executed in such a way that it does not unduly inhibit civil society’s ability to respond."


Mollyann Brodie, PhD, Erin Weltzien, Drew Altman, PhD, Robert J. Blendon, PhD, John Benson, MA, Experiences of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Houston Shelters: Implications for Future Planning, American Journal of Public Health, Aug. 2006, Vol 96, No. 8, p. 1402-1408

The authors conducted a survey of 680 evacuees living in two Houston shelters after Hurricane Katrina in order to explore how the public health community can promote the recovery of Hurricane Katrina victims and protect evacuees in future disasters.  Many evacuees suffered physical and emotional stress during the storm and its aftermath as a result of not having adequate food and water.   In comparison to New Orleans and Louisiana residents overall, disproportionate numbers of this group were African American, had low incomes, and no health insurance coverage.  Many had chronic health conditions and relied heavily on the New Orleans public hospital system, which was destroyed in the storm.  The results of the survey highlight the need for better plans for emergency communication and evacuation of low-income and disabled citizens in future disasters and shed light on choices facing policymakers in planning for the long-term healthcare needs of vulnerable populations.


Manuel Pastor, Robert D. Bullard, James K. Boyce, Alice Fothergill, Rachel Morello-Frosch and Beverly Wright, In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster, and Race After Katrina, Russell Sage Foundation, 2006

"Environmental justice, generally, is focused on the disparities of environmental health and conditions in parts of the United States.  Specifically, environmental quality in general seems lower in poorer, minority areas.  This report reviews the existing literature and research on the relationship between race, the environment, and large-scale disasters.  The authors make three central points.  First, environmental inequities by race and often by income seem to be an established part of the American urban landscape—Katrina simply tore back the cover on this unfortunate fact.  Second, disasters reflect what might be termed acute risks that, like the chronic risks targeted by environmental justice analysis, are often distributed in a way that reflects established chasms of power.  Third, this uneven distribution of risk may impose heavy and unfair costs on certain populations and seems as well to lead to an overall underinvestment in prevention and preparedness, thus increasing burdens for society as a whole.  Making environmental justice principles part of preparedness and environmental policy, in short, is not simply the right thing to do—it is the prudent thing to do."


Child Poverty in States Hit by Hurricane Katrina, National Center for Children in Poverty; Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, Sept. 2005

"The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina exposed glaring truths about poverty in America.  Child poverty and material hardship are not problems experienced by the states in Katrina’s path—they plague Americans around the country.  Just as residents began the clean-up process, the U.S. Census Bureau released numbers showing that in 2004, the poverty rate rose for the fourth straight year in a row—37 million Americans live below the poverty line.  In the wake of this national tragedy, poverty should once again become a topic of national concern.  Now is the time to focus on how to make sure no more children are left behind.  This article, addresses these challenges."