HURRICANES DEVASTATE MORE VUNERABLE LOW INCOME FAMILIES
Picture of citizens affected by Hurricane Harvey seeking shelter at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, August 28, 2017. (CNN.COM).
Low income and minority communities are more vulnerable to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and floods than most American citizens in the middle and high income levels. According to the Brookings Institute, September 18, 2017, Hurricane Harvey displaced 30,000 citizens, with 70 deaths and over $108 billion in estimated financial damages.
The institute also reported that Hurricane Katrina, in August, 2005, cost the lives of over 1800 people, with 1.36 million citizens filing claims for FEMA assistance.
Neighborhoods and buildings where low income people live usually live in substandard conditions and deteriorated locations, with proximity to railroad tracks and highways where there are usually industrial parks, chemical plants and transports by rail or truck nearby carrying many toxic and petroleum liquids.
The poor also live in more flood prone parts also contributing to their vulnerabilities.
Most obvious, is that low income communities, where usually a high percentage of minorities live, do not carry flood insurance or homeowners insurance making their recovery more painful, if not hopeless. Only 17% of citizens in Hurricane Harvey had flood insurance.
It is obvious that federal and state government assistance is an essential ingredient to provide for the safety and welfare of all citizens in natural disasters. And just as importantly, after the crisis has passed, government assistance is needed in rebuilding and recovery efforts.
Emergency funds, along with a well organized and well prepared disaster relief agency or department is essential to a responsible society.
It is events like this that demonstrate that a nationalized housing program is essential for society to live safely, securely and hygienically.