July 16, 2009
Researchers from the RAND Corporation have launched an in-depth study of people who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to gain a better understanding of how they were affected by the hurricane and its aftermath.
The Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey, also known as the New Orleans Katrina Study, will examine the current location, well-being and plans of people who resided in New Orleans on August 29, 2005, when the hurricane struck the city. The study builds on an earlier pilot study, the Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Survey, conducted during 2006.
Narayan Sastry, leader of the study and an adjunct senior social scientist with RAND, a nonprofit research organization, said it is important to find out how New Orleans residents are doing four years after the hurricane struck.
"We really know very little about what's happened to people who lived in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane because most of the efforts designed to track them immediately after the hurricane have ended," Sastry said. "The hurricane caused tremendous disruptions in peoples' lives: they lost loved ones, homes, and jobs, and children were uprooted from schools and whole families from neighborhoods."
"We do have growing evidence that the mental health effects of this disaster were large and long-lasting" he said. "The information we gather with this study will help government officials and community groups design better services to meet the needs of this population and plan better for the next natural or human-caused disaster."
Sastry said the survey team hopes to interview people from at least 1,250 households who lived in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane. Some of those residents may have moved to Baton Rouge, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta or other cities after the hurricane, and researchers also will attempt to locate those former residents.
The study is expected to be completed in the spring of 2010. For more information about the study, go to www.rand.org/gulf-states/.