Ethical and Legal Challenges Posed by mandatory Hurricane Evacuation: Duties and Limits

When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005, between 70,000 and 100,000 residents of New Orleans either did not or could not comply with the order that had been issued to evacuate. The events surrounding Katrina raised critical legal and ethical questions about the use of mandatory evacuation orders. We discuss four key ethical issues that must be confronted when considering whether to issue an order of mandatory evacuation: the costs of precautionary action in the face of uncertainty, the duty to provide for people, paternalism and the preemption of individual choice, the acceptability of compulsory measures.

Natural Disaster
Disaster Preparedness
Emergency & Risk Communication