[EAS] Katrina's Epidemiology

Peter J. Kindlmann pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Sep 6 19:01:29 EDT 2005

Dear Colleagues -

Via friends and other lists comes this long but revealing article by
Laurie Garrett, dated Friday 9/2.


She is Senior Fellow at the the Global Health Program
<http://www.cfr.org/bios/1781/laurie_garrett.html> at the Council of
Foreign Relations, writing here about the similarities of the Katrina
calamity to other recent world disasters, and the epidemiological
fallout. For understanding the present situation and planning for
future such, it is good to get beyond the current breathless news
coverage, to the political epidemiology and the daunting clean-up

"In our experience dealing with catastrophes and epidemics overseas
there is a DIRECT correlation between the historic relationship
between government and its people, and the willingness of the populace
to believe in and correctly respond to government instructions. Of
course tens of thousands of people failed to evacuate: why believe the
government this time? .... Public health collapses if the bond of
trust between government and its people breaks, or never exists."

"One past hurricane in the region produced so much debris that the
cleared garbage filled an abandoned coal mine. We have never in
history tried to dispose of this much waste. It is hoped that before
any officials rush off thinking of how to burn or dump a few hundred
thousand boats, houses and buildings, some careful consideration is
given to recycling that material for construction of future levees,
dams, and foundations. Looking at aerial images of the coastline one
sees an entire forest worth of lumber, and the world's largest cement


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