Director's Column: The Disabled Poor* Need a Healthier Community in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
The haunting stories that we have heard these past two weeks of people fighting for their lives in flood-ravaged waters in New Orleans and other coastal cities are heart wrenching. Many evacuees have given chilling accounts of their near-death experiences escaping the rising flood waters, some crawling through attic windows, others axing their way to rooftops. Sadly, the stories that will never be told are of those individuals who tried and failed to escape, many of whom were disabled, elderly, and poor.
* Note: The director chose not to use people-first terminology in this month's column to reflect a sense of urgency regarding the needs of individuals with disabilities living in poverty. The phrase 'disabled poor' reflects a severely underserved population that needs immediate attention from public policy makes in terms of improved living environments (disability-friendly) and greater attention to health promotion.