The Registry’s initial survey asked questions about residents’ physical health, mental health and housing before, during and after Hurricane Harvey. Those not affected by Harvey were, and still are, also encouraged to participate because their responses provide much-needed insight into Harvey’s impact on all communities. Houstonians are asked to continue participating in the survey for months to come so continued progress can be made.
“Harvey was an equal opportunity storm, affecting people from different backgrounds, socio-economic levels and ethnicities,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health. “While some people may have recovered, for others it has been more difficult because they may not have the resources they need. We saw firsthand how severely impacted residents were and know that the recovery efforts may take several years. Even nearly two years after Harvey, we continue to return to communities to help us determine where residents are in their recovery process and what their current needs are to either provide them services or connect them to additional resources. Information from the Hurricane Harvey Registry will certainly help us better understand the regional needs of the community and help us better prepare for future emergencies.”
As noted in the Registry’s initial report, the health and housing impacts of Hurricane Harvey persisted well beyond the one-year anniversary of the storm. The Hurricane Harvey Registry has helped establish a baseline understanding of the environmental health risks of the storm. As severe weather events occur more frequently, it is important to track these impacts over time and assess the effect of successive flooding events to help better understand vulnerabilities created by experiences and exposures during Hurricane Harvey.
“We know that extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey are becoming more frequent and more intense,” said Elena Craft, PhD, senior director of health and climate for Environmental Defense Fund. “We will continue to track how Harvey affected people’s long-term health so that we can identify public health solutions and better prepare the region for the next storm. Our aim is to make Houston the most resilient city in the nation.”
About the Hurricane Harvey Registry:
Hurricane Harvey exposed Houstonians to devastating weather conditions, unprecedented sources of pollution and contamination, as well as a number of hurdles to successful long-term recovery. Modeled after the World Trade Center Health Registry for people exposed to fire, smoke and debris in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, the Hurricane Harvey Registry is a first in the nation’s effort aimed at understanding the long-term impact to residents in the aftermath of a major flooding event. Since launching in April 2018, the Hurricane Harvey Registry has registered over 17,000 residents in the region, capturing the living environment and experiences of over 50,000 individuals and bringing light to a wide range of health and housing impacts experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The online survey is available at HarveyRegistry.Rice.edu.