A Tale of Two Floods

Katrina, Baton Rouge, and the Lessons in Between

By Elke Weesjes Sabella

WHEN BATON ROUGE and other areas of Louisiana flooded last summer, many of those active during Hurricane Katrina made their way to hard-hit Livingston Parish to offer help. Among them was Kenny Bellau, an eighth generation New Orleanian whose heroic efforts after Katrina helped save 400 lives. Curious about how the two efforts compared, I recently interviewed Bellau by phone. His accounts—some harrowing, some mundane—highlight the substantially different effects of flooding in urban and rural communities.


Awareness isn’t Knowledge

A Look at How the U.S. Public Perceives Zika

By David Abramson and Rachael Piltch Loeb

A new and eye-opening report on the public perceptions of Zika reveals that while a large majority of the U.S. public is aware of the virus, fewer than half understand how the virus is transmitted, that most people who contract the virus are asymptomatic, and that the virus can cause birth defects.


Inmates: Our Defenders in Disaster

By J. Carlee Smith

When we think of prisoner labor we generally might imagine inmates picking up highway trash or manufacturing license plates. A less well-known fact is that inmates also assist the public in times of disaster by serving as emergency responders. The experiences of inmates remain isolated from the general public, so it’s no wonder that few people know about the role of inmate labor in disasters, or the possible impacts such services may have on incarcerated populations or the general public.


Reporting for Duty During Disease Outbreaks

The Views of Emergency Medical Service Providers

By Mahmoud Alwidyan

The recent outbreak of Ebola has brought renewed attention to a dilemma that medical professionals face: Should they respond to disease outbreaks if this means risking their own and their family’s health?


Oil and Quakes

How Oil Drilling Possibly Triggered Earthquakes in the Los Angeles Area

By Elke Weesjes Sabella

More than a dozen disastrous earthquakes in the Los Angeles area in the early 20th century may have been induced by oil production activities, according to a new study by Susan Hough and Morgan Page of the U.S. Geological Survey. Their findings are especially important because they will likely reshape how seismologists calculate the rate of natural earthquake activity in the Los Angeles basin.