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Elderly most vulnerable during Katrina

Oct. 23, 2005 at 8:52 PM

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The elderly, many of them unable to leave or suffering from severe medical problems, were a majority of the Hurricane Katrina casualties in New Orleans.

"You had a combination of devastating flood waters and elderly and infirm populations with fewer resources," Dr. Jullette Saussy, the city's director of Emergency Medical Services, told the Times Picayune. "That equals fatalities."

A total of 1,056 bodies had been recovered in Louisiana as of Friday, 700 of them in Orleans Parish. Drowning and medical conditions aggravated by the loss of power, lack of medication or medical care and the intense heat were the major causes of death.

Sixty percent of the victims with known ages were 60 or older.

In St. Bernard Parish, where at least 123 people died, Coroner Bryan Bertucci said most were in their 60s or 70s. He said only one was a child.

The newspaper said that, at least in the city, age appears to have been the biggest factor, trumping race, income and geographical location.

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