Monday, October 24, 2005

More than half of Katrina victims were elderly

From the AP via Newsday:

A majority of people killed by Hurricane Katrina were older residents unable or unwilling to evacuate in the rising floodwaters, according to a study of almost half the bodies recovered in Louisiana.

About 60 percent of the nearly 500 victims identified so far were age 61 or older, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported.

"The elderly were much more likely to be in hospitals and nursing homes as well as possibly homebound and not able to access transportation in order to evacuate from the storm," said agency spokesman Bob Johannessen.

More than 215 bodies out of 1,048 recovered statewide were found in or around hospitals and nursing homes, according the state. Two nursing home operators have been charged with negligent homicide in 34 deaths at one facility, and others are under investigation.

A breakdown of the studied deaths by ZIP code shows large numbers were found in neighborhoods devastated by water rising from levee breaks, particularly in the lower Ninth Ward, a low-lying largely impoverished neighborhood of New Orleans, and the historic Gentilly neighborhood.

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