Human settlement at risk: the New Orleans case study.
urban sprawl, natural hazard, vulnerability, environmental refugees
The aim of this paper is to discuss the causes and consequences of the flooding of New Orleans when hurricane Katrina struck the city on 2005 August 29. New Orleans' site is likely to be flooded during hurricanes, but its vulnerability resulted entirely from unwise urban development. Despite very strong natural constraints, urbanized areas spread into former wetlands between 1945 and 2005. The catastrophe resulted in the displacement of 1.2 million people and extensive damage in Orleans and St Bernard Parish drove thousands of 'environmental refugees' out of New Orleans for months.