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Tipsheet: Responses to Hurricane Katrina

EDITORS: In response to Hurricane Katrina and the public policy issues arising from it, here are insights from three professors at Indiana University Bloomington. Their contact information is provided below, as well as contact information for six other professors with related expertise.

Hurricane Katrina is an example of the types of public health crises we all will face in the 21st century, not only in other countries but increasingly here in the United States. Lloyd Kolbe, a professor in Indiana University's noted public health program, said the hurricane has caused 10 discrete types of public health problems that its victims only now are beginning to experience simultaneously. These disasters will occur with increasing frequency, said Kolbe, former director and founder of the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "As a nation and in our individual communities, we need to learn from Katrina how to prepare for natural and manmade disasters, how to cope with them effectively while they are happening, and to how recover from them effectively," Kolbe said. Kolbe can be reached at 812-856-6781 and

Reports of lost property and images of dazed coastal residents sadly surveying the remains of waterfront homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina won't drown enthusiasm for coastal real estate. "I'm always amazed at how short a memory people have when it comes to events like this," said Jeffrey D. Fisher, professor of finance and real estate and director of the Center for Real Estate Studies at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. "My guess is that any effect on the demand for costal real estate will be short-lived. The likelihood of a hurricane has not changed just because there was one, and most studies have shown that just because an event such as a flood occurs, it does not have a long-term effect on property values because it was already reflected in property value." For example, Fisher said New Orleans residents have been warned for years that their city was vulnerable to severe hurricane-triggered flooding, while coastal Florida residents realize they're sitting ducks during hurricane season. "The condo market in Florida has been very hot this past year, despite the damage from hurricanes last summer," he said. Fisher can be reached at 812-855-7794 and

The relief felt Monday after Hurricane Katrina veered away from New Orleans revealed a lack of public understanding of hydrology -- the properties, distribution and circulation of water on and below Earth's surface and in the atmosphere. "One angle that piques my interest is the premature relief people felt on Monday after the storm spared New Orleans a direct hit, followed by despair on Tuesday about breached levees and serious flooding," said Matt Auer, an associate professor in Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "There is a lesson here about hydrology that journalists and politicians sometimes miss. It takes a while before rain discharge reaches a peak stage. People shouldn't expect the peak stage during the storm event itself -- they should expect it afterward," he said. Auer can be reached at 812-8554944 or

Other experts in SPEA are available and can speak to these topics:

-- Allen Anderson, visiting associate professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Kokomo, public health issues, 765-455-9417 or
-- Christopher B. Craft, associate professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Bloomington, wetlands and the impact of funding wetland preservation efforts properly, 812-855-5971 or
-- Leslie Lenkowsky, professor of public affairs and philanthropic studies and director of graduate programs for the IU Center on Philanthropy, disaster relief and philanthropic angles, 812-855-0731 or
-- Bill McGregor, professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Bloomington, public policy, with a special research focus on the relationship between public education and economic development, 812-855-0732 or
-- Orville Powell, director of undergraduate programs in SPEA and a former city manager, city management when disaster strikes, 812-855-9485 or
-- Charles Wise, professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Bloomington, homeland security, 812-855-9744 or