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Challenges faced by the chronically ill and disabled in high-risk hurricane areas

Robert J. Blendon, ScD, John M. Connolly, MSEd, John M. Benson, MA, Tami Buhr, AM, William E. Pollard, PhD, Elizabeth W. Mitchell, PhD


Using results from three surveys of adults in highrisk hurricane areas in eight Southern coastal states, this article examines the challenges faced by people from households where someone has a chronic illness or disability and would need help to evacuate. The analysis finds that 43 percent of people in this vulnerable group had not arranged the help they would need to evacuate. They had different reasons than other adults for why they would or might not evacuate in a future hurricane and were more likely than others (22 to 10 percent) to say they would go to an evacuation center if they did evacuate. Among those who had experience with a recent hurricane, people in this vulnerable group had encountered many more problems than others during and immediately after the storm, including more than one in four who suffered from heat exhaustion, who did not get needed prescription medicines, or who did not have enough fresh water.


hurricane; disability; chronic illness; preparedness; information seeking; emergency; evacuation

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