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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
After Katrina, coastal residents reluctant to evacuate, Harvard survey finds
Almost two years after Hurricane Katrina, nearly a third of the people who live along the coastline from North Carolina to Texas say they would not evacuate if ordered to do so, according to a Harvard survey, up from almost a quarter of people who told researchers last year they would stay in their homes.
The latest survey, conducted last month, asked 5,406 people who lived in counties within 20 miles of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico how prepared they were for a hurricane. Almost half of them had lived in places that had already been hit by damaging hurricanes.
Three-quarters of residents who said they wouldn’t leave thought their homes would be safe during a hurricane. More than half were afraid that evacuation routes would be too crowded; about a third worried that leaving would be dangerous; and a third also were concerned about theft or damage to their homes. About a quarter didn’t want to leave their pets.
If they did have to leave their homes, about two-thirds said they were most concerned that shelters would be dirty, lack clean water and be too crowded. Almost two-thirds of respondents thought they would be exposed to sick people and have no medical care.