204988 Ravages of Water: A Personal Account of the Public Health Sequelae of Hurricane Ike: The Forgotten Storm

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:15 AM

Katherine K. Kinsey, PhD, RN, FAAN , National Nursing Centers Consortium, Nurse-Family Partnership Collaborative of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
September 13, 2008. Hurricane Ike blew into Galveston, Texas. This category two storm made landfall following a devastating storm (water) surge from Galveston Bay. Immediate rescue and public health challenges surfaced. The floods, winds, and fires caused the collapse of buildings and piers. National press coverage reported the loss of human life, and the horrific debris including anchorless boats, and other flotsam that blocked access to the island... Floating livestock and small animals, displaced wildlife, and people who stayed behind tested the skills of responders. As the flood waters subsided, the environmental, community, economic, social and personal losses in the billions of dollars were evident. This presentation is a compilation of personal accounts, communal experiences, and observations regarding the aftermath of Ike's winds and floodwaters on the lives and livelihoods of those who call Galveston home. The resiliency and support of family, friends, neighbors and strangers (social networks) jumpstarted the rebuilding and resettlement processes. Lessons learned as private citizens, and public health advocates for healthy environments are summarized. Potable water is an essential resource to human life. With Ike, the floodwaters were foes to human existence, and the access to safe water consumption. Other foes to community rebuilding, including the sudden economic downturn; are discussed. Ike has become the forgotten storm. Needed public official, media, policy, and public health interventions as well as family and personal preparations in the face of natural or manmade disasters are described. There will be other storms. We need to be better prepared.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the public health devastation caused by Hurricane Ike on the people, community life, and landscape of Galveston Island

Keywords: Disasters, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Research, journal articles, book chapters, public health administration, program evaluation, clinical services
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.