By By Steven Reinberg HealthDay Reporter, health day reporter
FRIDAY, Aug. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) — This year’s hurricane season has been calm so far, but if and when it hits, many U.S. cities won’t be ready to execute mass evacuations, according to a news report. study.
After Hurricane Katrina crashed into New Orleans in 2005, the country has witnessed the pitfalls of not having an effective evacuation plan. Since then, only marginal improvements have been made in the 50 largest US cities, the researchers report.
For the study, they looked at the city’s emergency plans since Katrina and before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The researchers scored the 50 cities based on a scoring system that includes four designations: low, 0-4 points; moderate, 5-7 points; strong, 8-10 points; and N/A, plans that have not been reviewed.
Researchers found that only seven cities had strong plans, including Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland; Jacksonville; Miami; New Orleans; New York and Philadelphia.
Twenty cities had an average rating, six cities had a low rating, and 17 had plans that were unavailable or did not exist. Cities where plans have not been found include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis.
“While it is promising that more cities are developing evacuation plans, overall it remains discouraging that not all cities have been able to learn the lessons of lack of preparedness, especially for carless and vulnerable populations, as presented to the nation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said researcher John Renne. He is director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University. .
“In response to the question we posed in our article, ‘What has America learned since Hurricane Katrina?’ — the answer based on our findings is clearly: not enough,” Renne said in a university press release.
“Many cities that have strong plans, including Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans and New York, are coastal cities that have seen strong hurricanes in the past,” he said. “This study supports the theory that cities do not develop robust evacuation plans, ones that meet the needs of all people, unless they have already experienced a major disaster or are under threat.
To learn more about planning for a disaster, go to Ready.Gov.
SOURCE: Florida Atlantic University, press release, August 24, 2022
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