Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief - Children with Disabilities, Health Issues or other Special Needs

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief - Children with Disabilities, Health Issues or other Special Needs
The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the storm surge and flooding due to the break in levies has destroyed many clinics, hospitals and medical facilities, leaving children with disabilities or special health care needs in immediate danger. Hurricane Rita also caused terrible damage along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana.

National advocacy groups and support organizations for families raising children with special needs and leadership of local groups and agencies still seek help for those who have been displaced or otherwise affected, and are providing advice and direction for mainstream relief efforts.

This article and Hurricane Katrina - Help the Families were written in the days immediately following the storm but have been updated as new information arrives. Please continue to open your hearts to all who have been affected by storm or floods, and build awareness in your local communities of the needs and challenges of individuals with special needs and their families.

A Year Past Hurricane Katrina

Home Accessibility and Visitability for Families of Children with Special Needs

Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center
Contamination Caused by Katrina

Asbestos Exposure in Hurricane Katrina -
Asbestos Exposure and its link to Mesothelioma

Emergency Preparedness Initiative (EPI) - a program of the National Organization on Disability

N.O.D. Special Needs for Katrina Evacuees (SNAKE) Project

U Kansas Nobody Left Behind - Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Mobility Impairments
Resource Links

Pennsylvania 911 Dispatch Program for Families of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Is Diversity Like A New Box of Crayons?

Disability Advocacy and Awareness

Here is a partial list of disability support and advocacy organizations that are seeking donations or support for victims of Hurricane Katrina who have disabilities or special health care needs, as well as those affected or displaced by Hurricane Rita.

TASH - Relief Efforts for Katrina Victims with Special Needs lists efforts to assist disability related organizations, individuals with disabilities, and their families in the Gulf States and the states reaching out to those seeking refuge from the storm and floods. The page will be updated with additional information as it is received

Disability Solutions - Hurricane Katrina: Ways to Help People with Developmental Disabilities and their Families

Family Village - Hurricane Disaster Relief Efforts for People with Disabilities and Their Families

Family Voices, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for children and youth with special health care needs, is working with state and local organizations in the communities where hurricane refugees are now being sent
1-888-835-5669 - 2340 Alamo SE, Suite 102 - Albuquerque, NM 87106
Family Voices leaders in states like Florida and Alabama, who have recently lived through hurricanes, have the tools and experience to provide technical assistance to agencies like the Red Cross and Salvation Army and direct help to hurting families.

ArcLink Katrina Special Needs Assistance Page -
TheArcLink has created a central online clearinghouse so that family members, or other advocates and support people for those with developmental disabilities can offer or find the help that is needed; go to and click on Katrina Special Needs Relief - that will take you to
Offers from ArcLink host families are found at Host a Person/Family in My Home

The Arc of Louisiana for people with disabilities and their families affected by Katrina.

The Arc of Greater Houston will be the clearing house for those in the Houston area who are willing to open their homes to families with children who have cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities and are in the Houston area who have escaped from the devastated areas.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) has established the Katrina Fund for the Down Syndrome Community, at which will be a temporary fund to raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater New Orleans, the Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society and the Mobile Area Down Syndrome Support Group during September to distribute in October.

Any direct offers of assistance for the DSA of Greater New Orleans can be directed to Karen Scallan or Mike Rapier at Katrina Fund for the Down Syndrome Community that can be found at To find affiliated groups in the affected area who planned Buddy Walks in October, see NDSS Buddy Walk Map

Children with Diabetes - CWD - is working with the Children with Diabetes Foundation and dLife to provide diabetes supplies and assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Families are approaching their local pharmacies asking managers if they have anything extra at all in diabetes supplies, anything dented or opened they couldn't sell. Some have filled an entire grocery cart with supplies, including meters and strips to be shipped to MASH type units and shelters 203-221-345 Fax: 203-454-6986

Diabetes (T1D) Information for Classmates Be aware of the symptoms and the dangers of undiagnosed or untreated type one diabetes that are often attributed to a 'primary diagnosis' in those who have a developmental disability or mental health issues. Many mainstream children have developed diabetes following a traumatic event or serious illness, and there may be children displaced by the storm who were undiagnosed or undertreated before the hurricane struck.

United Cerebral Palsy at has made an emergency hotline available for UCP of Greater New Orleans at (800) 872-5827 to exchange information, as well as leave messages from or for those in the affected areas

UCP has also set up a Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund to provide services to people with disabilities affected by hurricane Katrina and assist UCP affiliates throughout the region restore their operations as quickly as possible.

Supporting People With Spina Bifida in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
SB HELP - Hurricane Emergency Life-support Program
This organization estimates as many as 10,000 people with spina bifida have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

Easter Seals Louisiana in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
Call to Donate Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and diapers:
Easter Seals Louisiana Hurricane Relief Campaign
2620 Centenary Boulevard, Building 3, Suite 180
Shreveport, Louisiana 71104
Toll-free number: 1-800-228-3563; Local - (318) 221-8244

Social Security Information
for People Affected by Hurricane Katrina

Information for People with Disabilities and people who want to help them

Lawa‘i woman leaves Kaua‘i to set up one of the first emergency shelters for children and families with special needs in Toccopolo, Miss

There is gluten free food available in the Houston area for victims donated by manfacturers. Those with celiac disease can go to this site for info:

Katrina and Services for Students with Learning Disabilities (LD)
Re-establishing special education supports and services for all students:

Hurricane Katrina - Help the Families

Soothing Children's Fears

Katrina Resources - Disabilities Preparedness Center

Emergency preparedness backpacks from benefiting foster children displaced by Katrina

Awake In America Operation Restore CPAPfor displaced individuals with sleep apnea

Individuals with disabilities, advocates, volunteers and organizations supporting people with disabilities:
If you have a particular expertise in the disability rights field and want to volunteer for relief efforts, go to https://www.KatrinaDisability.Info and click on "Disability Expert Volunteers".
Katrina Disability Expert Volunteers
KDI - Collaborating Voices Forum
Participate in Katrina Disability email discussion

Newsweek Online to cover Hurricanes and Disability 9/25/05
Newsweek On Air
Hear Marcie Roth speak on disaster preparedness and people with disabilities and issues affecting hurricane survivors with disabilities

National Disability Rights Network Katrina Links
National Disability Rights Network Katrina Links

The US Dept of Health Care Professionals and Relief Personnel Volunteers has a listing of the professionals they need now at
Volunteers in other professions, try

Team Rescue One (seen on Dr. Phil's Show)

Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities

Information about how individuals, families, and those who serve people with disabilities can prepare for the event of an emergency.
September is National Emergency Preparedness Awareness Month

Red Cross - Tips for People with Cognitive Disabilities before, during and after a disaster

US DHHS - Coping with Disaster -- Suggestions for Helping Children with Cognitive Disabilities

Bella - Hurricane Katrina - People with Disabilities

Eli Lilly Company will provide Financial Support and Product Donations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, coordinated through Heart to Heart at the American Red Cross. The company will make a direct cash contribution of $1 million, and in addition will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions made by its U.S. employees to the American Red Cross. Lilly also will donate $1 million in insulin to those in need in the affected areas, and will assess the appropriateness of donations of other medicines as the specific needs become clearer.

American Diabetes Association response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster

Resources in Spanish:
Huracanes Katrina y Rita - Información y Recursos Generales

Other sites for helping Katrina Victims are listed at the Bella Autism Spectrum Disorders Forum bulletin boards - please add to the list if you can.

Hurricane Katrina - Help the Families
Hurricane Katrina - Help the Families

CNN video report - Katrina and Children - includes Nash who has Down syndrome and leukemia.

National PTA Bulletin Boards Forum Index - Disaster Relief at is a resource for support, encouragement, and avenues to reach out to families caught in the disaster.

National PTA article for parents - When Disaster Strikes: Helping children cope with life at its worst

Northern Mississippi PTA relief care package collection for refugees from Katrina enrolling in their schools - - The Louisiana PTA Board website will receive requests from local Louisiana PTA units whose schools have an influx of students from the devastated area who are in need of supplies, clothing, lunch money, etc. to contact the state office for support. Other PTA councils, local units and state leadership will offer similar help

Katrina Missing Persons Hotline, 1-888-544-5475
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website will have photographs, names, and physical descriptions of missing adults, missing children, and found children from hurricane-stricken areas posted at NCMEC's linked from their web site at

Office of Civil Rights
Disaster Situations and the HIPAA Privacy Rule

State Education Agency information about state and Council of Chief State School Officers CCSSO responses to Hurricane Katrina.
State Efforts and Information - Student Supply Kit - Teacher Supply Kit

Preparing for Emergencies - Children with Special Needs

News from New Orleans

Governor Haley Barbour's Office and the
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund Call Center
1-866-230-8903 or local 601-981-1247

MCI free service to reunite people with access to a phone allows displaced people and those trying to locate them to connect by calling a free phone number.
To register as a displaced person call: 1-877-HELP-KAT (1-877-435-7528)
To locate someone who is missing call:1-866-601-FIND (1-866-601-3463)

The Texas Education Agency toll-free hotline to answer education questions arising from Hurricane Katrina at 800-957-5109 and be staffed throughout the holiday weekend answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The TEA Web site collects hurricane-related information in one location, linked from
Anyone who wants to donate school supplies to the evacuees may email information to

Louisiana Department of Labor establishes database for Workers’ Compensation claimants and providers
Claimants who have been relocated by Hurricane Katrina should call (225) 342-7561, (225) 342-7555, or toll free at (800) 201-2494 or (800) 201-3457. Insurance companies, self-insured employers and/or third party administrators need to contact us with their contact information as well.

BellaOnline.Com School Reform site -
Hurricane Katrina-Helping Your Students Cope With Tragedy

New Orleans and Gulf Coast News Stories
New Orleans WWT Television News -

Dr Phil - Hurricane Katrina - The Aftermath - Links
Moving Past A Moment of Crisis; Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; How to Give and Receive Support

Families can donate directly to the following organizations recommended by FEMA - I will include the web addresses so that you can link to them from your own web pages:

The Salvation Army is serving meals to victims of the disaster and the 'first responders' on the scene and uses money donated to provide meals, water, household cleaning kits and other services. To donate money, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and specify Katrina Relief; to make Corporate Donations, call - 1-888-363-2769; victims needing assistance can call 1-888-363-2769

The Salvation Army's Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) at is a website where you can send a 'health and welfare request' for family or friends you are unable to locate.

To support the American Red Cross, call
1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669)
Those writing checks to their local Red Cross should specify on the check "Hurricane Katrina"

The Family Links Registry of the Red Cross can be accessed on the Web at The Red Cross also has established a hotline, 1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317), that can be used to search or add information to the registry.

Shelters and food pantries in Houston

Katrina Disaster Relief - Information for People with Disabilities and people who want to help them

Shared Housing Offers for Refugees

Tennessee Hotel Lodging Association has links to major cities coordinating relief efforts at
For instance, Memphis

U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Line 1-800-323-7233. Post information about missing or stranded loved ones at

For housing requests, see Operation Share your Home - go to this web page to offer to share your home

America's Second Harvest Network

The Food Bank Network needs donations in truckload quanities - call 800-771-2303 and ask for ext 120, 134, 142, 145, or 192; they also need donated transportation, refrigerated or frozen space for food banks that are operating without power, and funds to buy what is not donated.

The truly wonderful Morgan Freeman has organized an online auction to benefit the Red Cross at the Charity Folks website

In How Children Cope with Crisis and How Children Cope with Loss, the Sesame Street Workshop Parent site provides expert advice on how to acknowlege, reassure and listen to children's concerns, according to their developmental age - under two, two to five, and six to eleven.

Informations on adults is available at the DVA website - What can survivors do to reduce the risk of negative psychological consequences and to best recover from disaster stress? - and Effects of Traumatic Stress in a Disaster Situation (plus Bereavement, and Bereavement Complications)

For more information on stress related problems children encounter during and after traumatic events, see the resource list at Terrorist Attacks and Children - London Bombings

Children in the affected areas may also be prone to Heat Illnesses and other dangers

Local bookstores and your public library will have books on childhood fears like these at

For more information on Katrina and its aftermath, see:

FEMA - Hurricane Katrina
FEMA - Spanish - Huracán Katrina
FEMA for Kids - How You Might Feel in a Disaster - FEMA for Kids may be more appropriate for teaching children about disaster preparedness - one story book at the site "For Little Ones" is about a hermit crab whose shell is destroyed by a series of disasters and may be very frightening to a child who has experienced a single disaster.
FEMA - Hurricane Katrina - Mississippi
FEMA - Hurricane Katrina - Alabama
FEMA - Hurricane Katrina - Louisiana
FEMA - Hurricane Katrina - Florida
Recent News Releases
FEMA How You Can Help or Donate to Relief Organizations

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters at

Be aware that there are individuals taking advantage of the situation, diverting money from relief organizations through scams and 'phish' emails. Don't allow them to deter our support for victims and responders.

You Should Also Read:
Home Accessibility and Visitability
Avoiding Heat Illnesses and Other Hazards
Soothing Children's Fears

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