Skip Navigation
Kids Environment Kids Health

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina and the NIEHS

A Storm of Environmental Health Challenges!


Hurricane damage
Hurricane Katrina left behind a very unhealthy environment for the Gulf Coast area that could affect the health and safety of many people and animals who live, work, or were visiting in that area. Assisting with the impact of exposures to environmental contaminants is what we do best here at NIEHS, so we quickly went into action!

First, a few definitions to help you understand these terms: 

Environment: Everything around us; everything within our surroundings; our atmosphere, background, circumstances, climate, habitat, neighborhood, territory, turf, etc. Also visit our storybook, "Sharon Finds the Environment" for more information about your environment!

Impact: An effect; something of influence or significance to us.

Exposures: Coming into physical contact with something; being subjected to risk from a harmful action or condition

Contaminant: Something unhealthy.  

NIEHS scientists and physicians were immediately sent to the devastated areas to assist with relief efforts. In addition, NIEHS also created a new website with a Global Information System (GIS) to provide important information about the possible health effects of the disaster.

NIEHS Global Information System (GIS) for Assessing Hurricane Katrina Environmental Hazards 
( visit the press release for more information)

What if YOU ever need to evacuate an area?


Here's a helpful packing list and other useful suggestions developed from FEMA's Emergency Preparedness Checklist and other resources. And kids, remember that YOU can help your families collect these items so your family will be ready to roll in an emergency!


Survival kit for natural disasters

Resources to Print and Use for Family Planning

NOAA Family Disaster Plan and Disaster Supply Kit List
(remember to add some of the other items shown above to the NOAA list!)

What Your Parents Can Do NOW!

(Making an escape plan long before an emergency happens!)

Have a family discussion about...

Other ideas for your parents or other adults in your home:

Other Resources... for Kids

National Weather Service Playtime for Kids, Fun activities and information for how weather affects your environment.

Ready Kids, by the US Department of Homeland Security; a disaster preparedness site for kids with games, coloring books, and other fun activities.

red crayon coloring a piece of paper
Other stuff you might like ...
Coloring books and fun pictures to color.
What's That Word
Scientific Dictionary
Not sure of what a word means?
Find Out!
an open book with the letter a over it
For parents
Some scientists are also trained as relief workers. They visit natural disaster sites and collect data for research. They hope to use their data for the future. Learn more about Disaster Research Response Efforts.
Back to Top