CDC Response to Environmental Health Concerns from

Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

 

Speakers:†††††††††††††††††† Capt. Jan C Manwaring, REHS, MPH

Env Health & Safety Officer, USPHS, CDC, NIOSH

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Capt Michael E. Herring, REHS, MPH

CDC, National Center for Environmental Health

Environmental Health Services Branch

Level of Knowledge: Multi-Level

Short Abstract:

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf region on August 29, 2005, causing severe wind and flood damage in and around New Orleans.This greatly compromised water systems, sewage systems, food establishments, solid waste disposal, vector control, and other public services.On September 4, 2005, the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans invited the CDC to assist in re-establishing public health infrastructure.A CDC team deployed On September 7, 2005, to support city and state public health partners as part of the Emergency Support Function-8 (ESF-8) of the National Response Plan. The team mission was to provide critical public health functions for remaining citizens and responder personnel, restore essential public health functions for returning citizens, and construct a new framework for a model public health department.The CDC team consisted of subject matter experts in public health areas focused on supporting public health and environmental health functions.This presentation will focus on the environmental health component of the public health response and how the CDC team assisted the state and local government in rebuilding critical environmental health infrastructure during the response and recovery phases of the disaster.

Long Abstract:

Introduction

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf region on August 29, 2005, causing severe wind and flood damage in and around New Orleans, greatly compromising water systems, sewage treatment systems, food establishments, solid waste disposal, vector control, and other public services.On September 4, 2005, the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans requested the CDC to assist in re-establishing public health infrastructure in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Background

The Greater New Orleans area has a population of approximately one million people and consists of four political entities: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. Environmental health services are provided by different offices within the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LA DHH) for all parishes.Additionally, Orleans and Plaquemines Parishes have their own local health departments.Hurricane Katrina and the associated flooding had a broad impact on the environmental health infrastructure.

Methods

CDC personnel deployed with an environmental health team on September 7, 2005, to support city and state public health partners as part of Emergency Support Function-8 (ESF-8) of the National Response Plan. The team mission was to facilitate, support, and provide critical environmental health functions for remaining and returning citizens, businesses, and responder personnel.The CDC support team continued through October 2005 with two to five-week rolling deployments for replacement of individual team members, and consisted of subject matter experts in various areas of environmental health.

Conclusions

CDC and other USPHS agencies can provide critical temporary assistance to state and local public health departments facing compelling environmental health resource needs and shortages.Doing so can be a boost to state and local environmental health offices that struggle to re-establish themselves in the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  1. State the three-fold mission of CDCís role in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina according to the Emergency Support Function-8 (ESF-8) of the National Response Plan, relative to environmental health activities.
  2. Identify the environmental health support activities that CDC was involved in during the response and recovery operations for Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area.
  3. Describe the short, intermediate, and long term environmental health recommendations from the CDC support mission.