Rapid assessment of health needs and resettlement plans among Hurricane Katrina evacuees–San Antonio, Texas, September 2005.

Hurricane Katrina struck the coastal regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi on August 29, 2005, resulting in one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was further damaged by severe flooding when major levees broke and released water from Lake Pontchartrain. Residents were evacuated to neighboring states and cities, including San Antonio, Texas. On September 3, 2005, approximately 12,700 evacuees arrived in San Antonio and were housed in four primary evacuation centers (ECs). Although many evacuees in San Antonio soon found other accommodations, as of September 16, 2005, approximately 3,700 evacuees remained in ECs awaiting resumption of public services in New Orleans. To assess evacuee needs for clinical care, public health services, and housing assistance, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) requested CDC assistance to conduct a needs assessment of heads of households in the ECs. This report summarizes the findings of that survey, which identified substantial numbers of evacuees with chronic health conditions, physical or mental disabilities, and needs for counseling and housing assistance. The findings underscore the need to augment local public health and public assistance resources to address ongoing health and housing needs of evacuee populations.