R. Reese Fuller

Harvard surveys hurricane preparedness

by R. Reese Fuller

Fifty-five percent of Louisiana residents living within 20 miles of the coast are worried that a major hurricane will hit their community during the next six months, but 79 percent of them say they are prepared. That's from a recent survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health. The survey was conducted in June of 1,000 people in Louisiana over the age of 18 that live near the coast. It was part of a larger study on hurricane preparedness that the school has conducted annually for the last three years.
The top worries of respondents threatened or hit by Hurricane Katrina are that they would not have enough fresh water to drink (42% very worried) and that they would not be able to get needed medical care (41% very worried). The survey of 5,055 people was conducted in eight states-Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas-and only included residents of high-risk counties, those within 20 miles of the coast. The poll also included a special sample of the New Orleans metropolitan area. ...
Seventeen percent of the Louisiana respondents said that even if government officials called for an evacuation in the face of approaching hurricane, they would still stay.
Despite the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, a sizeable number of people living in high-risk hurricane areas say they would not evacuate due to a major storm if government officials said they had to leave. Nearly one in four (23%) Katrina-affected respondents and 28% of other high risk area respondents would stay in their homes. Of those respondents who would need help to evacuate (20% of Katrina-affected respondents and 18% of others), nearly half (46% Katrina-affected and 49% other high-risk respondents) have not arranged that help. Approximately one in four pet owners (25% Katrina-affected and 27% other high-risk respondents) do not have a place they could go and take their pet.