Katrina hit the old of all races

The Times February 18, 2006
Katrina hit the old of all races

American Association for the Advancement of Science
by Mark Henderson

THE main victims of Hurricane Katrina were not black people but older people of all races, according to research showing that almost two thirds of those who died were over 60.

Although the floods that struck New Orleans after the hurricane last August hit mainly African-American neighbourhoods, the disaster was not a disproportionate killer of black people, figures released by the St Gabriel mortuary in the city have suggested. Of 768 bodies examined so far, 64 per cent were those of people over 60. Only one was a child under 5, and among white people none of the confirmed dead was under 40.

“The truly unique signature of Katrina is the selectivity for the oldest members of the population,” said John Mutter, the deputy director of the Earth Institute, at Columbia University, in New York. “People older than 60 died in numbers about three times greater than their representation in the population. Katrina may be the first natural disaster in history to be so selective for the elderly. When it comes to deaths, this was an age-selective disaster far more than it was raceselective.”….

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