Extended Family Ties Influenced Evacuation Decisions During Hurricane Katrina, UCLA Study Finds

FINDINGS:               Previous research has shown that minorities have particularly cohesive extended family ties. For this study, UCLA researchers interviewed 58 randomly selected evacuees — mostly low-income African Americans — who relocated from New Orleans to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The researchers found that the evacuees' strong family ties had a profound influence on factors affecting evacuation, including transportation decisions, access to shelter and how they perceived evacuation messages. These ties both facilitated and hindered their evacuation. IMPACT:                   Disaster plans should take into account the influence that extended family ties and social networks have in decision-making among vulnerable and minority communities. AUTHORS:                David P. Eisenman, Kristina M. Cordasco, Steve Asch and Deborah Glik of UCLA and Joya F. Golden of the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Asch is also affiliated with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and the Rand Corp. JOURNAL:                American Journal of Public Health, April issue. FUNDING:                The National Science Foundation-supported Natural Hazards Research and Application Information Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. -UCLA- ER193