After the deluge

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Science  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6379, pp. 972-975
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6379.972

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It has been 12 years since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana coast, destroying homes and upending lives. And although most disaster researchers have by now turned their attention elsewhere, one group of social scientists is still seeking lessons from its survivors. In a unique project called Katrina@10, three social scientists who have been following the health and well-being of people affected by Katrina are surveying their study participants one last time with an ambitious goal: Identify a few simple characteristics that will predict who is most likely to be resilient after a disaster, and who will likely struggle to recover. If the predictors they identify hold true across other natural disasters—and that remains to be seen—Katrina@10 could help policymakers and disaster recovery programs pick out especially vulnerable groups. It might even steer them toward interventions that do the most good.