Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans on August 29, 2005, but still today we do not know the true death toll. Just how many people lost their lives as a result of that tragic event?
The Earth Institute is attempting to document all those who died as a result of the Hurricane and its extended aftermath and we need your help.
There are two principal reasons why the death toll remains unclear. One is that a large number of people remain missing. The second is that the number of deceased depends on exactly who is counted as being a victim of the hurricane. We must count all who drowned or were crushed in building collapses, but do we count those who had a prior medical condition such as heart disease or respiratory problems that were fatally aggravated by the trauma of the hurricane? Do we count those who committed suicide in the days after? Without details of who died or what caused their death we cannot begin to answer questions such as these concerning the variable risks people face in natural disasters.
The purpose of this Web site is to assemble a comprehensive list of all those who died directly and indirectly from the effects of Katrina and its long, tragic aftermath. We would like to compile as comprehensive a list as possible of the names, age, race, sex, cause of death, circumstances of death and way of life of all those whose deaths could plausibly be attributed to the hurricane or its consequences.
The list of all the victims is an act of remembrance. In addition, if we can obtain all the information we can about the way they lived and how they died, we will be able to better understand how natural disasters such as Katrina affect all levels of society and devise measures to save more lives in the future.
Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor, Department of International and Public Affairs
The Earth Institute