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Countless Devastated By Hurricane Katrina
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 30, 2005

UNITED STATES--Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coastline of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi Monday, literally blowing and washing away entire neighborhoods, and leaving cities and towns under dozens of feet of water.

As the death toll continues to rise, the hurricane is being called one of the greatest single natural disasters in U.S. history.

In this case, as in most natural and man-made disasters, people with disabilities have been among the most at-risk.

In New Orleans alone, at least ten "special needs" shelters had been set up across the city, including the Louisiana Superdome, for seniors and people with disabilities. By Tuesday evening, tens of thousands of people had packed into the shelters from around the area.

Various news reports and email accounts tell of people who were left stranded in their homes -- or on ground-level floors -- because they could not drive, wheel or walk to higher ground or away from the affected areas. Some report that a number of nursing homes, group homes and other congregate care facilities were not able to evacuate in time. Three people who were evacuated from a New Orleans nursing home Monday in advance of the storm died on the trip to Baton Rouge.

Hundreds of thousands who survived the storm are now left without power, telephones, clean water, food, medical supplies, or homes. People who rely on electricity to operate devices such as ventilators, or who need life-saving medications, are at greatest risk.

Also, as in most disasters, those not affected directly by the hurricane are offering their support. Individuals, families, universities and social service agencies across the country are offering to house and help support survivors for extended periods of time.

At this time, most national and international relief agencies are asking for cash donations.

Meanwhile, one reader cautioned that some criminals use these emergencies to steal from generous people. You are advised to choose a relief agency to donate on your own, but not to give money, credit card information or any personal information over the phone.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune website has information on how you can help, how to find loved ones, or to let others know you are okay.

New Orleans Times-Picayune
Hurricane Katrina: Where to Get Help (National Organization on Disability)
"HHS Supports Medical Response to Hurricane Katrina" (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

You can check in with other Inclusion Daily Express readers about Hurricane Katrina on the Inclusion Daily Express Discussion Board:

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