Statement on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

For Immediate Release             
August 25th, 2015                        

Contact:    
David Card
202.408.9514 x122
press@ndrn.org

Washington, DC - This week the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) joins human and civil rights advocates from around the country to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the catastrophic storm that swept through the gulf coast the week of August 27 – 29, 2005. We continue to mourn the lives lost during that horrible storm. We remember the large number of people with disabilities who lost their lives because they were stranded in their homes, nursing homes, hospitals and correctional facilities due to the lack of emergency management services provided to them.

“NDRN is committed to improving the planning and implementation of emergency management services for people with disabilities nationwide so the Katrina tragedy is never repeated,” said Curt Decker, executive director of NDRN.

“Over the past ten years, NDRN and Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agencies around the country have worked with federal, state and non-profit entities to create and implement better emergency management plans that include the rights of people with disabilities,” said Decker. “NDRN continues to work on creating accessible evacuation centers, trainings for emergency workers, law enforcement and other officials and communication outreach that include the entire community, but especially the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.”

Over the past ten years, we have built partnerships with emergency management agencies at the state and national levels and have seen:

  • An increase in the use of shelters accessible to people with disabilities
  • Publication of emergency preparedness materials in a range of accessible formats
  • The establishment of systems for providing durable medical equipment to people with disabilities during sheltering and disaster recovery

 Yet, there is still progress to be made:

  • There are still shelters across the United States that are not fully accessible for people with a broad range of disabilities
  • Emergency notification/communications systems have not achieved full accessibility, particularly for people who are blind and low vision or deaf and hard of hearing
  • All emergency management systems must maintain strong partnerships with the P&A Network and the disability community to ensure inclusive emergency planning and implementation of best practices nationwide

 “This year’s commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina provides the country an opportunity to reflect on the events of August 2005, remember those who lost their lives and look forward to a better future for all communities,” said Decker.

 For more information about National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) please go to: www.ndrn.org

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Twitter: @NDRNadvocates

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.