Hurricanes & Typhoons

Within the last decade, two of U.S. history's most destructive and costly hurricanes struck our coastlines. Both hurricanes Katrina of 2005 and Sandy of 2012 were classified as category 3 storms at landfall (based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale). The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health commends those first responders and health professionals who played a role in the response to and recovery from these devastating storms. NCDMPH believes the past experiences of first responders and health professionals provide valuable lessons that encourage learning so future responders can better manage all-hazards events.

Although this page specifies hurricanes, these resources are applicable for hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons. The difference between these storms is mainly regional and is clarified in Basic Disaster Life Support: Course Manual, Version 3.0(link is external)

"Hurricane is the name given to a subset of storms produced around the equator of the earth. These storms are characterized by a rotating storm core that is fueled by warm, moist air that rises and eventually condenses to produce heavy rainfall. In the Indian Ocean region they are known as cyclones, in the Western Pacific they are called typhoons, and in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans they are hurricanes."

Contribute to "a nation of resilient communities" by educating yourself and others on disaster health topics related to hurricanes. NCDMPH has gathered resources for health professionals for all hurricane related events. By providing these resources, the National Center aims to foster resilience through learning. The organization of this content is intended to facilitate self-directed learning as well as provide materials for educators. This is an initial effort and we will continue to add to these resources.

Ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals interested in learning content or activities related to health impacts of hurricanes may be found below.

Hurricane Resources

Hurricanes. NLM Disaster Information Management Resource Center.

Overview: Hurricane Katrina . NOAA.

Overview: Hurricane/Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy. NOAA.

Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina . U.S. House of Representatives.

Yale-Tulane ESF-8 Special Report: Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in Vietnam

ReliefWeb Typhoon Haiyan

USAID. Typhoon Haiyan.

NLM DIMRC Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

Republic of the Philippines. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Update .

Health Information for Travelers to Philippines. CDC.

CDC, NIOSH: Emergency Response Resources: Storm/Flood andHurricane/Typhoon Response

Larrance R, Anastario M, Lawry L. Health Status Among Internally Displaced Persons in Louisiana and Mississippi Travel Trailer Parks: A Global Perspective. Annals Emer Med. 2007; 49(5): 590-601.

Hurricane and Flood Recovery. CDC.

Prevent Illness and Injuries after a Hurricane or Flood. CDC.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): Deaths Associated with Hurricane Sandy. CDC.

Environmental Health Impacts of Hurricane Sandy. NIH.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): Injuries and Illnesses Related to Hurricane Andrew. CDC.

Sastry N, Gregory J. The effect of Hurricane Katrina on the prevalence of health impairments and disability among adults in New Orleans. Soc Sci Med. 2013 Mar; 80:121-9. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.12.009. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Emergency Access Initiative provides free access to scholarly articles during and immediately after disasters.

WHO PAHO. Risk of Dead Bodies Associated with an Epidemic.

Evidence Aid. Resources to open access articles related to health impacts of water.

Park KJ, Moon JY, Ha JS, Kim SD, Pyun BY, Min TK, Park YH. Impacts of heavy rain and typhoon on allergic disease. 2013. 4(3) 140-5.

Typhoon Haiyan. The American Academy of Pediatrics Responds with open access to medical & professional periodicals.

Children's Psychosocial Needs in Disasters. NCDMPH.

Managing traumatic stress: After the hurricanes. American Psychological Association.

Psychological First Aid(link is external). Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

Teachers Helping Students: Listening and Talking. Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

Le F, Tracy M, Norris FH, Galea S. Displacement, county social cohesion, and depression after a large-scale traumatic event. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013 May 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Immediate Disaster Response - Hurricane Sandy. SAMHSA.

Neria Y, Shultz JM. Mental health effects of Hurricane Sandy. JAMA. 2012 Dec 26; 308(24):2571-2.

Hoffpauir SA, Woodruff LA. Effective mental health response to catastrophic events: lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. Fam Community Health. 2008 Jan-Mar; 31(1):17-22.

Roberson-Nay R, Berenz EC, Acierno R, Tran TL, Trung LT, Tam NT, Tuan T, Buoi T, Buio LT, Ha TT, Thach TD, Amstadter AB. Characteristics of individuals meeting criteria for new onset panic attacks following exposure to a typhoon. Psychiatry Res. 2013. 209 (3): 547-8. (EAI Access)

SAMHSA. Post-Disaster Retraumatization: Risk and Protective Factors.   

Recovering From Disaster. FEMA.

Adapting the Healthy Development Measurement Tool to Post-Disaster Planning Initiatives. Public Health Practices (University of Minnesota).

How to Help Your Community Recover from Disaster: A manual for planning and action. Society for Community Research and Action.

Lavizzo-Mourey, R. Building Healthy Communities After Disaster. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Long Term Community Recovery From Disasters: A look at U.S. communities in the process of recovering from disasters. Long Term Community Recovery Blog.

Volunteer Work - Logistics First. The New England Journal of Medicine.

Hurricane Irene Response: Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Activities . Medical Reserve Corps

Tran P, Weireter L, Sokolowski W, Lawsure K, Sokolowski J. HAZUS modeling for hurricane effect on a healthcare campus: implications for health care planning. Am Surg. 2009 Nov; 75(11):1059-64.

Facing Uncertainty - Dispatch from Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan. The New England Journal of Medicine.

Lessons from Sandy - Preparing Health Systems for Future Disasters. The New England Journal of Medicine.

Rodriguez H, Aguirre BE. Hurricane Katrina and the healthcare infrastructure: A focus on disaster preparedness, response, and resiliency. Front Health Serv Manage. 2006 Fall;23(1):13-23; discussion 25-30.

Slepski LA. Emergency preparedness and professional competency among health care providers during hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Disaster Manag Response. 2007 Oct-Dec;5(4):99-110.

WHO PAHO. Mass Fatality Plan Checklist.

International Committee of the Red Cross. Management of dead bodies after disasters: A field manual for first responders.

Lin CH, Hou SK, Shih FF, Su S. The effect of tropical cyclones (typhoons) on emergency department visits. J Emerg Med. 2013. 45 (3): 372-9. (EAI Access)

Planning for Psychiatric Patient Movement During Emergencies and Disasters. ASPR.

Prepare to Evacuate. CDC.

Hospital Evacuation Decision Guide . AHRQ.

Host Communities: Analyzing the Role and Needs of Communities that take in Disaster Evacuees in the Wake of Major Disasters and Catastrophes. United States Senate.

Urban to Rural Evacuation : Planning for Population Surge. National Opinion Research Center: University of Chicago.

The Storm and the Aftermath. The New England Journal of Medicine.

Dobalian A, Claver M, Fickel JJ. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Department of Veterans Affairs: a conceptual model for understanding the evacuation of nursing homes. Gerontology. 2010; 56(6):581-8. doi: 10.1159/000302713. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

Ricchetti-Masterson K, Horney J. Social Factors as Modifiers of Hurricane Irene Evacuation Behavior in Beaufort County, NC. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2013 Jun 5 [last modified: 2013 Jun 6]. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.620b6c2ec4408c217788bb1c091ef919.

NCDMPH Resource Page in Response to Superstorm Sandy

A combination of hurricane, northern winds, and winter storms, known as Superstorm Sandy, hit the East Coast October 28-29th, 2012. This powerful storm decimated coastal communities in New Jersey and left New York City powerless and flooded. In Washington DC, the Federal government closed for two days due to the power losses in the DC metro region. The states of the central Appalachian Mountains [NC, KY, WV, VA, PA] lost power while receiving several feet of snow.

The National Center wants to provide its stakeholders with the latest and most accurate information regarding the recovery of all the regions affected by Superstorm Sandy. We will continue to compile updated links and resources relevant to NCDMPH's role in disaster education and training on this page. We also provided a list of trending public health topics that arise after a storm like Sandy in one place for your convenient review.

The staff of the National Center extends their sympathy to everyone affected by the crisis, especially for those family and friends grieving the loss of loved ones. We wish a healthy recovery to those injured due to the storm. Finally, NCDMPH offers its gratitude to all the efforts of the responders involved in the response and recovery.

-- Situational Awareness --

New York Times Storm Aftermath Live Updates Constantly updated news feed with the latest updates from New York City, New Jersey, and the surrounding region

Public Health Situation Updates Provides HHS situation reports on the response and recovery effort

State Health and Preparedness Information A state-by-state guide for the latest Sandy news regarding public health issues and the recovery effort

CNN(link is external) Source for overview of crisis as well as a story regarding the ongoing recovery

Washington Post Statistics on the historic impact of Superstorm Sandy

Corporation for National & Community Service Information on how to volunteer or contribute

-- Resources and Reports --

ESF-8 Planning and Response Program Unit Special Report A comprehensive Federal response brief on all states affected by Sandy

Disaster Information Research Center The National Library of Medicine offers recovery information and public health issues from past major weather events like Hurricane Katrina

Disaster Distress Hotline A 24/7 hotline staffed with crisis-counselors for anyone in need of support

Environmental Health Resilience Collaborative This page offers tips on how to handle flood waters whether you are a responder or home owner

Teacher Cast(link is external) A site designed to help educators, school districts, students, and communities find the education resources that they need during this period

National Child Traumatic Stress Network The NCTSN provides resources on care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events, like flooding and hurricanes

National Donations Management Network Virtual portal that assists companies and individuals that want to offer support on-line to humanitarian relief organizations

CDC Disaster Epidemiology Resources Resources for public health issues related to epidemiology in the wake of Sandy

Google Crisis Map This interactive resource map provides images, power-outage information, damage assessments and fuel-inventory status for the impacted region. Also use this map to find your polling station and local traffic conditions.

Virtual Operations Support Group Virtual Operation Support Teams use social media tools to provide data and support to responders on-site

Crisis Wiki Resources related to disasters all around the world, Crisis Wiki has information on Hurricane Sandy with specific information on recovery, getting help, giving help, and preparing for hurricanes.

Hospital Evacuation Decision Guide Designed as a supplement to existing hospital evacuation guides, this document provides general guidance on critical decisions hospitals face during an evacuation.

Infection Control Guidance for Community Evacuation Centers Following Disasters CDC provides recommendations for infection prevention in evacuation centers.

Hurricane eMatrix The Occupational Safety & Health Administration released a Hazard Exposure and Risk Assessment Matrix that identifies additional hazards response and recovery workers may face when working in a Hurricane affected area. Also use this matrix to find recommendations regarding worker responsibilities and safety in a recovery zone.

LGBT Resources GLAAD provides resources for the LGBT community, including phone numbers to call if their rights are violated.

All-Hazards Articles in the Scholarly Literature (ALL-HAZARTS) Access to over 20,000 scholarly/peer-reviewed articles facilitates continuous learning on All-Hazards topics. Use this resources to supplement your knowledge on prevention, response, and recovery to storms like Sandy.

Veterinary Responders Treat Pets following Sandy Article describing ASPR's National Veterinary Response Team, a special section of the disaster health workforce.

Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Your Health This website provides New Yorkers with a comprehensive list of resources regarding public health issues and safety that may arise post-Sandy.

The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery  This document guides both the social medial novice and expert on using social media for information management and community outreach post-disaster. Examples include social media response to the Joplin & Branson tornados and the Missouri floods.

Podcast: Hospital Readiness for Hurricane Sandy NLM and host this podcast that compares hospital preparedness for hurricane Sandy and hurricane Katrina. The podcast is based on an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association which you can read here.

SAMHSA Response Template Toolkit: Introduction The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) compiled links with various printed materials, videos, and other online tools for disaster behavioral response.

Webinar: Incident Command Decision Making for Public Health Leaders In this webinar from the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, representatives from state and local health jurisdiction explain their use of the Incident Command system when responding to emergencies.

FEMA: Ready Responder-Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed  FEMA's emergency planning toolkit for first responders and their families.

Southern Medical Journal This January 2013 edition of SMJ addresses topics such as ethics & disaster medicine, volunteerism in disasters, and elderly care.

Planning for Psychiatric Patient Movement During Emergencies and Disasters This ASPR resource aids medical planners and public health officials in preparing for the movement of psychiatric patients in an all-hazards event.

Behavioral Health Tips for Responders Maintaining Calm at a POD: ASPR provides tips on creating and maintain a point of dispensing (POD) that's sensitive to the mental health needs of survivors.

Planning Resources by Setting Tool developed by the CDC to guide healthcare systems refine their response to and preparedness for all-hazards scenarios.

Response Template Toolkit Introduction: SAMHSA created this compilation of resources which includes a variety of customizable multimedia materials (brochures, flyers, tip sheets, wallet cards, post cards, and audio). These materials aim to strengthen a disaster response or behavioral health program. SAMHSA also provides advice on creating blogs, websites, public service announcements and using social networks for community outreach.

Updates for March 15 2013

Cochrane Evidence Aid Project Established after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in December 2004, the Cochrane Evidence Aid project uses systematic reviews to provide considerations for different interventions in the context of natural disasters and major healthcare emergencies.


Prevention Web PreventionWeb is a project of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and provides news, research and training and education resources related to disaster health.

Learning Objectives & Activities-Hurricanes

Ideas for Educators of Health Professionals

Below are ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals and may wish to develop learning content or activities related to health impacts of hurricanes. These ideas should be customized based on the learners, their needs, scope of practice, and the educational context.

Options for Learning Objectives:

At the end of the learning activity, the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe how hurricanes impact human health, especially in health systems, clinical, behavioral, social, and public health dimensions, including evacuation and population displacement effects.

  2. State ways in which health professionals can contribute to preparedness for, response to, and recovery from hurricanes given their scope of practice.

  3. Critically analyze the multiple role-based expectations of health professionals in hurricane disasters. Major role categories include:

    • individual

    • family (significant others)

    • organization

    • profession

    • community

  4. Discuss the role of volunteers in the health response to hurricanes.

  5. List environmental health risks associated with hurricanes.

  6. Identify pertinent Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) and describe the employment of key resources on the mass care of hurricane displaced populations, with special emphasis on health considerations.

Options for Learning Activities:

  1. Walk through the resources [Resilience Through Learning] online during class and discuss their applicability and utility for the learner.

  2. Lead a class discussion about the health and systems impacts of hurricanes. Possible discussion questions are:

    • Describe the top 3 causes of illness and injury associated with a recent hurricane, such as Hurricane Katrina or Sandy.

    • What are the public health implications of hurricanes?

    • Are there unique behavioral health considerations for hurricane disasters?

    • How do the learners compare and contrast case reports describing health facility evacuation from recent hurricanes?

    • How have population displacements associated with hurricanes affected the health of the evacuees and what are the health system challenges in supporting these populations?

  3. How can you as a health professional, within your scope of practice, contribute to the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from a hurricane?

  4. In the context of a hurricane disaster, consider the following:

    • What do you expect of yourself?

    • What does your family (significant others) expect of you?

    • What does your organization expect of you?

    • What does your profession expect of you?

    • What does the community expect of you?

  5. Invite learners to work in small groups to draft a public service announcement for your county on actions citizens should take to reduce injury and death before hurricane impact, and a separate public service announcement for similar safety actions after hurricane impact.

  6. Focusing on volunteers in hurricane Disasters:

  7. Invite a member of another health profession or another specialty within your profession to discuss interprofessional coordination and collaboration necessary in response to a hurricane. Discuss barriers to such interprofessional coordination and collaboration.

  8. Divide the class into 4 groups: "Preparedness", "Mitigation", "Response", and "Recovery". Ask group members to list 3 or more actions they would recommend being taken to address the environmental health impacts of hurricanes in their particular disaster phase and share these with the group.

  9. Develop and defend a prioritized list of the top 5 health needs of hurricane displaced populations using domestic and international experience (Red Cross and Sphere Project).