Dr. Katherine Nelson-Born
Aftermath of Katrina, Returning to a Safe Workplace
There is still a difference between something and nothing, but it is purely geometrical and there is nothing behind the geometry.” Martin Garden”
People are powerless under natural forces such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans that occurred on August 29, 2005. This catastrophe has brought death, deprived people of their homes and work-places. ‘Katrina has left a disaster zone of 90,000 square miles in its wake - almost the size of the UK. Thousands have been killed or injured and more than half a million people have been displaced in a humanitarian crisis of a scale not seen in the US since the great depression. The cost of the damage may top $100 billion’ (Pickrell 2005). Can New Orleans Hospital return to a safe workplace after Hurricane Katrina? After several months of Hurricane Katrina, people began returning home. Rebuilding started from people’s homes because people were considered to be the main workforce. Then, rebuilding of offices and different institutions was provided. In general, ‘in the aftermath of massive displacement, restoring economic viability means developing communication mechanisms to permit shredded networks of neighbors to reconnect, implementing training programs to make sure that the new jobs of the reconstructed economy can be filled by those who wish to return to the city, and providing strategies for coordinated provision of appropriately located transitional housing’ (Birch and Wachter 2006, p. 158). On the example of one of the largest New Orleans Hospitals, we can observe that at the same time they provided measures to stabilize the situation for returning home. An Industrial Hygienist was sent to New Orleans for monitoring workplace. This person supervised a team that composed of the hospital’s current Safety Supervisor...
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