Monday, January 21, 2013

Distribution of Katrina refugees

The above map shows the dispersion of the 800,000 refugees from Louisiana that fled as a result of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.  This is measured by applicants for federal emergency assistance and is drawn from Chapter 9 of the draft US National Climate Assessment (big pdf).  I found the map fascinating for showing how widely the disaster must have drawn on the resources of much of the southeastern US, but also the nation as a whole.  I think Hurricane Katrina is a prototype for many 21st century disasters - where the combination of increasingly extreme storms combines with increasingly below sea-level coastal cities.  Therefore it's particularly interesting to understand it's impact.


Anonymous said...

I would be nice to see this map normalized by existing population centers, to get some sense of how distance relates to extant infrastructure/population for migrants. From the look of it there was a broad fan-out of the population, but I'm interested in knowing how many people in this migration settled in metro areas smaller than or larger than New Orleans.

Still, extremely useful for better understanding what can happen for events like this.

Hal said...

Stuart, I haven't read the whole report, and won't be able to download the whole thing anytime soon, but it looks to me on page two that it says it's using census data for evacuees from all Katrina-affected counties. That would mean these are not only, as you state, "refugees from Louisiana," but would include people who were relocated from counties in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. If you have better information on the source of data in this particular map, I'd appreciate it. Google wasn't much help.

The reason I ask is that the first thing the map made me wonder is how small was the source area: IOW, does this show refugees from the dense urban area of NO, or from a more heterogeneous region?

Stuart Staniford said...

The figure caption in the source says "This map illustrates the national scope of the dispersion of refugees from
4 Hurricane Katrina. It shows the location by zip code of the 800,000 displaced Louisiana
5 residents who requested federal emergency assistance. The evacuees ended up dispersed
6 across the entire nation, illustrating the wide-ranging impacts that can flow from extreme
7 weather events, some of which are projected to increase in frequency and/or intensity as
8 climate continues to change. (Source: Louisiana Geographic Information Center 2005)"

Hal said...