Helping Families and Communities Recover From Disaster: Lessons Learned From Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Central Gulf Coast region of the United States. The storm and its aftermath resulted in the most severe, damaging, and costly natural and unnatural disaster in the nation's history—as evidenced by the size of the region affected, the loss of life, the extensive destruction of property, and the thousands displaced.
Over 2 years post-disaster, many families lived in temporary housing and had limited access to basic services; to date, many continue to struggle to meet basic needs. Furthermore, the mental health needs of many survivors remain largely unmet—and disproportionately so for marginalized, disenfranchised segments of the affected population.
The magnitude of Hurricane Katrina and the associated shortcomings in disaster planning and relief interventions have provided mental health and social service professionals, as well as policy makers, with critical information for the improved handling of future disasters.
The present volume examines key "lessons learned" and offers a blueprint for better meeting the needs of children, families, and communities post-disaster through well-timed, targeted responses and interventions.
Broadly guided by a bioecological framework, it
highlights significant issues in post-disaster work;
considers the range of risks, resources, and factors related to post-disaster adaptation;
emphasizes community-level provision of resources, services, and supports; and
provides actionable recommendations and practical applications for future disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
The editors' and contributors' experiences with children, caregivers, educators, and practitioners in Louisiana and Mississippi lend a compassionate perspective to the analysis of research and further underscore the significance of the recommendations put forth.