2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes: The Public Health and Medical Response [Updated January 20 ,2006] [open pdf - 2MB]
"Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in late August 2005, causing catastrophic wind damage and flooding in several states, and a massive dislocation of victims across the country. The storm is one of the worst natural disasters in the nations history. Early estimates are that more than 1 thousand people were killed and about 1 million displaced. Hurricane Rita, which made landfall along the Gulf Coast in late September 2005, was ultimately less lethal than Katrina, but prompted aggressive preparedness efforts by governments and citizens shaken by the devastation of the earlier storm. In response to a series of disasters and terrorist attacks over the past decade, in particular the terror attacks of 2001, Congress, the Administration, state and local governments and the private sector have made investments to improve disaster preparedness and response. New federal authorities and programs to strengthen the nations public health system were introduced in comprehensive legislation in 2002. Congress also created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002 to provide national leadership for coordinated preparedness and response planning. A new National Response Plan (NRP), launched by DHS in December 2004, met its first major test in the response to Hurricane Katrina."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33096