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Most Katrina Victims Were Over Age 60 And With Disabilities
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 19, 2006

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--Seniors and people with disabilities perished at a higher rate than other groups during and after Hurricane Katrina, a recent story in the Contra Costa Times reported.

Citing data collected from Knight Ridder news service, the paper noted that 74 percent of the bodies collected in the New Orleans area since the August 29 storm were of people age 60 or older, and that nearly one-half were over age 75.

People age 60 or older accounted for just about 15 percent of the population before the hurricane.

Nearly 20 percent of those who died were in nursing homes or hospitals at the time.

The office of Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., is investigating 13 New Orleans area nursing homes and four hospitals for negligence. The operators of one nursing home have been charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide for allegedly failing to evacuate when they had the chance.

While many drowned from the storm surge, many others died after the storm was over, when protective levies broke, flooding entire neighborhoods and cutting off escape routes. Some were found in their beds or wheelchairs, apparently unable to make it to higher floors or higher ground. Some died because of lack of medications and life-sustaining equipment. Others perished days after the hurricane left the buildings without power for air-conditioners.

The article tells the personal stories of several of those -- many with physical or mental disabilities -- who became victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina and its aftermath preyed largely on weakest" (Contra Costa Times)
"People With Disabilities Among Hardest Hit By Hurricanes Katrina & Rita" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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