By Juanita Graham, DNP, RN, FRSPH
Faculty Member, School of Public Health at American Public University
On August 29, Mississippi will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the single greatest natural disaster ever experienced by the state.
Damages exceeding $125 billion encompassed all 82 Mississippi counties. A 30-foot storm surge wiped out 90 percent of the buildings along the Gulf Coast, 238 people died, and 67 people went missing.
Public health nurses from all over the state were deployed for disaster recovery efforts. I first saw the damage on September 1, 2005, just two days post-storm, after a nurse friend and I climbed through nearly a mile of debris to get to the beach. We saw what seemed like an endless line of bare foundations where stately and historic coastal homes had stood just a few days before. This past June, I spent three days on the coast and, regretfully, I must report that 10 years later, many of those slabs remain bare.
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