Hurricane Katrina’s psychological scars revealed

Mental health worsened in the disaster’s aftermath, but survivors also showed resilience. Read more

Ten years later, there’s so much we don’t know about where Katrina survivors ended up

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the city of New Orleans on the morning of August 29, 2005, swept in by winds traveling at 127 mph. But the true damage came after the levees broke, when about 80 percent of the city flooded. At least 400,000 residents, nearly the entire city, were displaced—some for a few days, some forever. Read more

Katrina’s emotional legacy includes pain, grief, and resilience

When hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 most residents evacuated safely. But thousands lost homes, careers, and the lives they had known. Since then, many seem to have recovered emotionally from the trauma. But some have not. Read more

Response, relief, and rebuilding in the wake of disaster

September 11, 2001 changed a lot about America, including many changes that, by now, you barely notice. So did the Hurricanes and tropical storms –Katrina, Irene, and Sandy — all of which reshaped how and where we live. continue reading →

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Weathering the Storm: Our genes may help determine how we respond to disaster.


December 6, 2013

When natural disasters unleash horrific damage and generate mass casualties, the psychological impact on survivors typically includes posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with symptoms that can range from mild and transitory to long-term duress.

Read the article here.


Lesson from Louisiana: Don’t Forget the Renters

On May 20, 2013, a tornado with peak winds of 210 miles per hour struck Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people, injuring 377 more, destroying 1,150 homes and causing an estimated two billion dollars in damage.  After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated parts of Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, state officials chose to prioritize the repair of owner-occupied homes over rented ones.  The lessons learned from the 2005 hurricane season apply to Moore.

Read more of Elizabeth Fussell’s Guest Post on the Oklahoma Policy Institute Blog here.

Irene Destruction

Gene X Environment

We have launched an interdisciplinary collaboration with Jordan Smoller, a psychiatric geneticist at MGH, Post-doctoral Fellows Erin Dunn and Nadia Solovieff, and Karestan Koenen, an epidemiologist in Public Health, with expertise in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and genotype-environment interaction.

7 years after Katrina, New Orleans homeless twice pre-storm level

NEW ORLEANS — There’s a gigantic hole in the roof of the abandoned building where Ralph Paze lives in the Seventh Ward of New Orleans. The dilapidated couch where he sleeps is shoved off to the side to be more or less clear from the rain that pours in.

It could be worse, said Paze, who survives by collecting cans for recycling. He used to stay in a different abandoned building not far away, a place where he kept a few belongings.

“I left in the morning to go pick cans, and when I came home that night, the house had been demolished,” he said.

Paze is among the estimated 4,900 homeless in the New Orleans area, a population that’s nearly two and a half times bigger than it was seven years ago before the region’s mismanaged levees failed, flooding the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Read more…