"Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast on August 29th, 2005. The hurricane and flooding that followed resulted in a disaster of historic proportions. Over 1,800 people lost their lives and more than one million were displaced. Tens of thousands of homes, businesses, and schools were damaged or destroyed. Katrina remains the most costly disaster in U.S. history, with financial losses exceeding $80 billion.
Katrina, like other disasters before it, was not an equal opportunity event. Early reports showed that the elderly and people with disabilities suffered higher death and injury rates. African American and low-income neighborhoods were the most likely to be flooded, and the residents of these areas were displaced the furthest distances from home. Although children and youth are also widely considered vulnerable to disaster, less was written, at least initially, about how they were affected, and about how their voices were included (or excluded) in the disaster recovery process.
In this Provocation, sociologist and disaster recovery expert, Associate Professor Lori Peek draws on research insights from her co-authored book Children of Katrina (University of Texas 2015) and co-edited volume Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora (Texas University Press 2012) to discuss the contributions of children and youth to a more sustainable and democratic disaster response and recovery."