Don’t blame the victims

Thomas E. Drabek, PhD





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For example, see Newsweek 2005, vol. 146, nos. 11 and 14, and vol. 142 no. 12.

As of early October 2005, Katrina-related deaths exceeded 1,079, and Rita topped 80 including 24 elderly persons killed in a bus accident. See MacLaggan C, Sanders J: Including accidents, Hurricane Rita’s death toll tops 80. Austin American-Statesman, September 29, 2005; and “Reported Katrina deaths, state by state.” Associated Press, September 4, 2005.

Gruntfest E: What people did during the Big Thompson flood (working paper 32). Boulder, CO: Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado, 1977.

See Drabek TE: Human System Responses to Disaster. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1986; Sorensen JH: Hazard warning systems. TsuInfo Alert. 2001; 3 (1): 14-20; Lindell MK: Principles of effective warning systems. IAEM Bull. 2003; 20(2): 1,6,8; and Drabek TE: Social Dimensions of Disaster (2nd ed). Emmitsburg, MD: Emergency Management Institute, 2004.

See Drabek TE: Disaster Evacuation Behavior. Boulder, CO: Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1996: pp. 95, 102; and Heath SE: Epidemiologic features of pet evacuation failure in a rapid-onset disaster. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001; 218(12): 1898-1904.

See FEMA: Hurricane Pam exercise concludes. FEMA Press Release #R6-04-093, July 23, 2004; and Bourne JK: Gone with the water. National Geographic, October 2004. Available at Accessed November 28, 2005.

Various studies have documented that about one-quarter of evacuees leave because they received an invitation from a relative or friend who offered shelter. See Drabek TE: Social processes in disaster: Family evacuation. Soc Probl. 1969; 16: 336-349; and Perry RW, Greene MR: Citizen Response to Volcanic Eruptions: The Case of Mount St. Helens. New York: Irvington Publishers, 1983, p. 94.

For example. see City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan: Annex I—Hurricanes. Available at Accessed November 28, 2005; and State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Plan: Supplement 1A—Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Evacuation and Sheltering Plan. Baton Rouge, LA: Office of Emergency Preparedness, 2000. Available at plans/eopindex.htm. Accessed November 28, 2005.

Drabek TE: Strategies for Coordinating Disaster Responses. Boulder, CO: Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 2003.



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