Progress in Pediatric Preparedness – Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later

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Progress in Pediatric Preparedness – Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, displacing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Experts estimated that this hurricane caused more than $100 billion in damage.​

This tragedy highlighted many challenges or gaps in regards to children's preparedness, including:

  • Low awareness of how children are different and why they need customized planning and response in a disaster. See The Youngest Victims: Disaster Preparedness to Meet Children's Needs.
  • Disaster planning did not strategically address health issues, and health professionals were not consistently included in planning efforts.
  • Limited to no capacity within hospitals to diagnose and treat children in emergencies (for individual children as well as large numbers of children in a mass casualty situation).
  • Physicians were not supported to maintain office practices. See Pediatric Private Practice After Hurricane Katrina: Proposal for Recovery.
  • No "home" or repository for policies, clinical guidance, and resources on children's preparedness.

These challenges and more were documented in the May 2006 supplement to Pediatrics titled, Hurricane Katrina, Children, and Pediatric Heroes. Initial progress was captured about 5 years later in the August 2011 follow-up supplement to Pediatrics titled, Hurricane Katrina's Children and an AAP News article, Katrina's Legacy.

Significant Progress has been Achieved

Reports and Resources

2012-2013 Report of the Children's HHS Interagency Leadership on Disasters (CHILD) Working Group: Update on Departmental Activities and Areas for Future Consideration
The HHS has made significant progress in addressing the needs of children in disasters. This report summarizes HHS interagency activities and references select accomplishments of the AAP and its members.

AAP National Survey 2010

The AAP conducted an opinion poll to stimulate discussion on the use of resources related to disaster planning and response specific to children's issues.

AAP Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit
This resource allows pediatricians, public health leaders and others to assess what is already happening in their community or state, and help determine what needs to be done to improve outcomes for children before an emergency or disaster. The kit promotes collaborative discussions and decision making about pediatric preparedness planning. The kit also includes information and strategies to accomplish the following:

AAP Preparedness Checklist for Pediatric Practices
Based on the concepts and information in the AAP Pediatric Preparedness Resource Kit, this Checklist offers steps that pediatricians or their practice staff can take to improve office preparedness.

AAP Preparedness for Pediatric Practices: Newborn Screening in Emergencies
This resource was designed to assist pediatricians to enhance contingency planning for interruptions in the newborn screening process. The handout details the newborn screening process and why contingency planning for newborn screening is important during emergencies.

National Biodefense Science Board Community Health Resilience Report
The appointment of the National Commission facilitated significant progress in identifying and addressing issues specific to children. This report defines "community health resilience", shares five recommendations of the National Preparedness and Response Science Board (NPRSB) working group, and identifies steps that can be taken to improve resilience.

National Commission on Children and Disasters: 2010 Report to the President and Congress
This report cites persistent gaps in disaster preparedness for children since Hurricane Katrina and calls for the development of a national strategy for children in disasters to ensure children are protected before, during, and after an emergency.

AAP Policy Statements/Clinical Reports​


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