Earlier this year, we reported on the Hurricane Harvey Registry. Officials from seven local health departments, The Environmental Defense Fund, and Rice University created the registry to obtain a better understanding of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the health and housing of Houston residents. It represents the first attempt to collect health information regarding environmental exposure following a significant flood in the United States.
Now, residents affected by Tropical Storm Imelda are invited to participate in the registry. In a news release, officials said that “significant damage caused by Imelda prompted the registry team to add more than a dozen questions to the survey.” Imelda brought 43 inches of rain and has at least five deaths attributed to it in the region.
Hurricane Harvey Registry Questions Might Be the New Normal
This update is the second to the registry. Last May, more questions were added after a storm brought significant amounts of rain and flooding to the Houston area once again. Officials are now saying that frequent weather events will likely cause the registry’s continued growth.
“Events are happening more frequently, and intense rainfall events more often, so there’s a growing recognition that we need to account for health and housing impacts, regardless of the name of the storm,” said director for climate from the Environmental Defense Fund Elena Craft. “The registry was always meant to be a living tool that can be flexible enough to accommodate different events.”
What the Registry Has Revealed So Far
The registry was based on one created after the 9/11 attacks. Data from it is being used to understand how significant weather events affect the mental and physical health of those who live through them. So far, the registry has found that two-thirds of respondents have regular intrusive thoughts about Hurricane Harvey since it happened. Those who suffered damage to their home suffered the most from these thoughts, according to the registry.
Officials are hoping that those who experienced Imelda will participate in the registry, even if they already did so after Hurricane Harvey. About 20,000 Houston-area residents have already participated in this first-of-its-kind research. Residents who were affected by Tropical Storm Imelda can participate in the registry by clicking here.