Just as we might be underestimating the impacts ahead from climate change, we seem to be under-measuring the after effects of recent extreme storms.
The Washington Post reports on a study's findings that "Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused far more dislocation to Louisiana's population than previously estimated, with tens of thousands more people being forced to relocate than previous population counts have suggested..."
The study by the Louisiana Recovery Authority found that previous population studies of the changes following this series of storms "did not capture the vast amount of churning that occurred not only as people left wrecked homes but also as they were forced to leave intact dwellings to find jobs elsewhere and as others moved in to abandoned homes..."
About 246,000 left the city, about 50,000 moved from one house in the city to another, and about 20,000 moved in from elsewhere.The Post story also revealed that a survey of New Orleans area residents of FEMA trailer parks found many of them to be in pretty bad shape, which you'd expect if you saw the conditions in these places. Small, cramped, hot, crowded...unimaginable if you've never lived like that.
Overall, in the 18 parishes studied, the storms forced 398,000 to move away and 151,000 to relocate within their parish.
The closure of New Orleans for two months after the flood led many employers to relocate; many have not returned.
...for the poorest evacuees, domestic circumstances are now far worse: More are unemployed, many have been the victims of theft and domestic abuse, and about half are unclear about how long they might remain at government-sponsored trailer sites.