Disasters Tough on Those with Disabilities

DALLAS, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or man-made disasters like the Oklahoma bombing are life changing but are worst for the disabled, U.S. researchers say.

Laura Stough of Texas A&M University says people with disabilities not only have more difficulty evacuating or escaping a disaster but, since many are unemployed, they have more difficulty recovering from the disaster.


They often have no extra funds for new food, furniture and clothes. Case management with disaster survivors with disabilities takes longer because these people needed assistance in multiple areas, Stough says.

Another analysis focused on two different studies — one examining Oklahoma City bombing survivors and the other Hurricane Katrina evacuees. The Oklahoma City study assessed 182 survivors six months after the bombing and the Hurricane Katrina involved 421 people who had been evaluated in a mental health clinic at a Dallas shelter for Katrina evacuees.

Of the Oklahoma City bombing survivors, the most common psychiatric diagnosis was post-traumatic stress disorder — 34 percent — followed by major depression. Eighty-seven percent were injured in the bombing and 20 percent had to be hospitalized, the analysis says.

For Hurricane Katrina survivors the main tasks in the psychiatry clinic were rapid diagnostic assessment, resumption of psychotropic medications and linkage to ongoing psychiatric care for already existing disorders.

The findings are published in a special section of Rehabilitation Psychology.

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Categorized | Natural Disasters, Other
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