GCAFH Key Findings

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Baseline: Six months to one year after Katrina

“The Recovery Divide: Poverty and the Widening Gap among Mississippi Children and Families affected by Hurricane Katrina” 

  • Households that had been among the working class and the working poor at the time of Katrina were most vulnerable to the economic impact.
  • Among elementary school children six to eleven years old, 29% had missed ten or more days of school in a given month during the last quarter of the spring semester, and 41% of teenagers missed at least ten days of school in a given month during the same period.
  • Missed school days (10 or more days) had increased among children six to eleven years old and among teenagers.

“On the Edge: Children and Families Displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita face a Looming Medical and Mental Health Crisis”

  • Children suffer from high rates of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, behavioral or conduct problems, developmental delay or physical impairment, and learning disabilities, and poor access to care (no access to a personal medical doctor, prescription medication).
  • The safety nets designed to protect children’s and family’s welfare have major gaps, such as facing problems getting access to medications and medical services upon returning to Louisiana after being evacuated to other locations.

Wave 2: Two years after Katrina

“The Legacy of Katrina’s Children: Estimating the Numbers of Hurricane-Related At-Risk children in the Gulf Coast States of LA & MS”

  • Approximately 163,105 children were displaced because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, yet two years later 31.5% of these children are presently experiencing a risk factor that puts them at risk for long-term poor outcomes.
  • Parents living in community settings felt an increased sense of insecurity regarding their and their children’s safety.
  • Uncertainty about their future still plagues a number of residents.
  • Parents report declines in their children’s academic performance subsequent to the hurricanes.

Wave 3: Three years after Katrina

“Second Wind: The impact of Hurricane Gustav on Children & Families Who Survived Katrina”

  • Over half of the non-evacuees said that if they had to evacuate again they were only “somewhat likely” or “not at all likely” to obey warnings.
  • Of those who did not evacuate for Hurricane Katrina, 26% evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, while approximately 7% decided not to evacuate.
  • The average cost for those who did evacuate in response to Gustav, taking in to account food, shelter, and transportation, was $484.
  • Most of the surveyed population who evacuated had difficulty paying for the evacuation.

Wave 4: Five years after Katrina

“Legacy of Katrina: The Impact of a Flawed Recovery on Vulnerable Children of the Gulf Coast – A Five-Year Status Report” 

  • Children displaced by Katrina were 4.5 times more likely to have symptoms consistent with serious emotional disturbance (SED) than did comparable children surveyed in a 2004 national study.
  • Among those parents who thought their children needed professional help for these problems, slightly more than half did not receive it.
  • A third of middle or high school-age children were one or more years older than appropriate for their grade in school.

“Children as Bellwethers of Recovery: Dysfunctional Systems and the Effects of Parents, Households, and Neighborhoods on Serious Emotional Disturbance in Children after Hurricane Katrina”

  • Children’s mental health recovery in a post-disaster setting can serve as a bellwether indicator of successful recovery or as a lagging indicator of system dysfunction and failed recovery.

Measuring Individual Disaster Recovery: A Socioecological Framework

  • An individual’s psychological strength had the greatest association with positive recovery, followed by having a household income greater than $20,000 and having informal social support.
  • The time displaced since Hurricane Katrina, being disabled, and living in a community with substantial social disorder were strongly associated with an absence of recovery.