This case examines the steps political leaders, emergency management professionals, and public health officials in Louisiana and Texas took to improve their capacity to evacuate, shelter, and repatriate individuals with special needs following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both of which revealed serious shortcomings when it came to the execution of evacuation processes. (In the context of evacuation management, the term special needs generally refers to people requiring assistance to move out of harms way, including those with disabilities and medical conditions, the elderly, the institutionalized, the homebound, and people without direct access to their own means of transportation.).
The case also looks at how well the states revised plans prepared them to manage yet another round of special needs evacuations when, in 2008, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike threatened the New Orleans and Houston metropolitan regions, respectively. A companion case, Moving People out of Danger (A) explores the specific problems Louisiana and Texas experienced in evacuating special needs individuals during Katrina and Rita.