Hurrican Katrina

Sheri Fink, award winning journalist and nonfiction author, is the keynote speaker for the Disasters, Ethics and Social Justice Conference taking place at the University at Albany on Friday, April 15. She will be speaking and giving the keynote address.

Sheri is a New York Times correspondent and author of bestselling book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, about choices made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The book won the National Book Critic Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

  Natural disasters don't matter for the reasons we think they do. They generally don't kill a huge number of people. Most years more people kill themselves than are killed by Nature's tantrums. And using standard measures like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it is difficult to show that disasters significantly interrupt the economy.

It's what happens after the disasters that really matters-when the media has lost interest and the last volunteer has handed out a final blanket, and people are left to repair their lives. What happens is a stark expression of how unjustly unequal our world has become. The elite make out well-whether they belong to an open market capitalist democracy or a closed authoritarian socialist state.

In The Disaster Profiteers, John Mutter argues that when no one is looking, disasters become a means by which the elite prosper at the expense of the poor.

  On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina's monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana. Eighty percent of the city flooded, in some places under twenty feet of water. Property damages across the Gulf Coast topped $100 billion. One thousand eight hundred and thirty-three people lost their lives.

Don Brown tells the story through words and illustration in Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans.

University of Texas Press

The impact of major disasters on children and youth has not been widely studied.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit 10 years ago this week,  University of Vermont and  Colorado State University researchers conducted a multi-year study into how the hurricane impacted the lives of  the hundreds of thousands of children displaced by the storm.  UVM Associate Professor of Sociology Alice Fothergill, co-author of the book Children of Katrina,  tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley it is the first significant  study focused on children following a major disaster.