Building Resiliency in New Orleans’ At-Risk Populations

Mon, 2015-05-04 14:16 -- 0514
Project Description 
New Orleans is particularly vulnerable to flooding and the effects of tropical weather. The parish has an elevation of six feet below sea level and has lost its natural protection from storm surges due to the gradual elimination of surrounding wetlands. For this reason, the City requires all residents to evacuate the parish when threatened by a major hurricane. Evacuation of roughly 378,715 residents is complicated by high rates of poverty and disability. In response, the City has developed a system to evacuate all residents who are not able to self-evacuate. This requires significant outreach planning, action, and program evaluation. In partnership with the New Orleans Health Department (NOHD), the NOMRC maintains a Special Needs Registry that locates at-risk individuals who may need additional support during an emergency. Challenge Award funding will provide NOMRC with the capacity to maintain the Special Needs Registry and ensure that at-risk individuals are knowledgeable of the city’s evacuation plan, prepared to evacuate, and ready for all types of emergencies. Funding will also allow for the development of a Special Needs Coalition that can help improve emergency operation plans. Lastly, the unique position of New Orleans as an international shipping port and as a popular tourist destination presents an increased risk for the entry of infectious disease. Funding would allow NOMRC to prepare an outreach and communication plan for all public health emergencies.


2015 Outreach Results

2015 hurricane preparedness outreach results are in! This year, our unit held 17 trainings for partnering agencies, trained 112 agencies, attended or hosted 107 outreach events, and educated over 3,600 individuals on hurricane preparedness. We also signed up 208 residents for the Special Needs Registry and distributed over 32,000 brochures! Our members and partners contributed 208 hours to conducting outreach in New Orleans.

Coming to a Close

September marks the end of the NOMRC's hurricane preparedness outreach season. For the past 6 months, we've been working to reach at-risk populations in New Orleans and we've had several successes and a few setbacks. Official results from our outreach season as well as a map of our efforts will be released in the beginning of October.

Diversifying Outreach

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the NOMRC is working hard to conduct outreach in the most vulnerable neighborhoods of New Orleans. We are also planning to operate 6 first aid stations at the Katrina 10 Day of Service on August 29 - a day when thousands of people will complete volunteer projects in the city to commerorate the 10th anniversary and celebrate progress!

Outreach & Special Needs Preparedness Coalition

The month of June was packed with outreach events! The MRC hosted 6 hurricane preparedness trainings for agencies and completed 20 outreach events, reaching over 600 people and signing up over 170 individuals for the Special Needs Registry. We conducted outreach to senior living facilities, community groups, shelters, and more. In July, we're planning on connecting with houses of worship and targeting outreach to neighborhoods we have missed in the past.

Hurricane Season is Here

Hurricane Season began on June 1 and the New Orleans MRC is right on track with community outreach. Our outreach brochures (including those in Spanish and Vietnamese!) arrived in early May, just in time for our hurricane preparedness trainings for agencies. We held sessions for health centers, nursing homes, home health and hospice agencies, senior living facilities, and faith-based organizations.

Planning for Outreach Season '15

Outreach season is coming up! We are revving up for this year's hurricane season outreach by meeting with partner agencies and scheduling outreach dates. We've implemented new methods of tracking outreach this year, including a way to coordinate outreach calendars of multiple agencies. This will help us monitor and evaluate our efforts throughout the season, instead of analyzing results at the end of the year.