As hopeful as this clip was, I still found myself annoyed—not with Hurricane Harvey survivors, the Richard family, but with the circumstance. Because this scene and the results are all too familiar.
For the past few weeks, there have been several debates on climate change, chemtrails, and even spiritual-based theories regarding the natural disasters that are happening here in the United States. But all I could think about during the most recent ones, Harvey and Irma, were the victims; particularly the most marginalized group affected by those storms…Black Americans.
Following the 2013 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, the NAACP issued out a report advising that African Americans are less likely to be well prepared for natural disasters and are more inclined to be displaced and criminalized as a result. “Our socio-economic vulnerability is based on multiple factors, including pervasive lack of wealth to cushion us, oft-compromised quality of housing stock in many of our communities, our relative lack of mobility.” If you add the lack of urgency (if any) from the emergency response teams, you’ll understand my annoyance to these situations. But the aftermath and its effects towards my community isn’t anything new.
- Impacted states from Illinois to Louisiana
- It was the most destructive flood in U.S. history that disproportionately affected African Americans, resulting in more than half a million losing their homes.
- Hundreds of thousands were displaced from their communities and workplaces.
- Impacted Oregon
- The Columbia River Flood that happened in 1948 left 25% of Vanport’s population, who happen to be African American, homeless.
- Many whites ignored those left homeless, hoping they would leave the state.
- Impacted Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and others
- Roughly 1,400 people died from Katrina; most of them poor, Black, elderly.
- African Americans made up a disproportionate share of the hurricane’s victims. About 1 of every 3 people who lived in the areas hit were African American.
- African Americans living in New Orleans were especially likely to be without a vehicle before the hurricane struck. More than 1 in every 3 Black households (35%) and nearly 3 in every 5 poor Black households (59%) lacked a vehicle.
- Impacted Texas
- Hurricane Harvey is one of the costliest storms in U.S. history; total cost could reach up to $190 billion.
- Africans Americans will be the real victims of Harvey, with 26% of Black residents of the 30% of Houston residents living below the poverty line.
- Black women, especially single mothers, make up 65% living below poverty.
- 45% of households earning $10,000 or less in income are Black, while 80% of households earning $200,000 or more are white.
- Impacted Florida, the Caribbean, and others
- It will have a devastating impact on Black Americans, with 530,000 of an estimated 3 million Miami residents living below the poverty line.
- Many residents were forced to ride out Irma due to being on a fixed income.
- Black resident, Eugene Johnson, is on a fixed income, no car and has to depend on two loaves of bread, tuna, water, and batteries to survive.
- “Working poor and people who rely on social security are invisible in hurricane planning because there’s no one coordinated system to help people who lack the financial resources to buy hurricane supplies ahead of the storm,” said Valencia Gunder, community activists in Liberty City.
In a previous post, I provided data which proved that most blacks in America are a part of the working poor. So please don’t condescend in the comment section with delusional responses about “not having it that bad,” because these natural disasters prove otherwise. Instead, let’s talk about some possible solutions. The most obvious would be money, but since the conversation about reparations seems to be so problematic, here are a few of mine:
- Invest in an emergency kit. (Batteries, flash lights, bottled water/containers/coolers, canned goods, wood, matches, etc.
- Set up Independent Emergency Relief Organizations not only for the victims but for those, such as myself, who refuse to give a dime to the corporate ones.
- Start some Community Outreach Programs that would work with Black churches, Black fraternities/sororities, and etc. to get funding to urban communities to prep before and after a natural disaster.
- Neighborhood Meetings; plan for events ahead of time and come up with exit or survival strategies for our families, the disabled, elderly, and etc. Because when it’s all said and done, we’re on our own anyway.
Until Next Time…
Coyle, L. (n.d.). THE GREAT MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOOD OF 1927. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/collection/great-mississippi-river-flood-1927
Ellison, C. D. (2017, August 29). Race and Class Are the Biggest Issues Around Hurricane Harvey and We Need to Start Talking About Them. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from http://www.theroot.com/race-and-class-are-the-biggest-issues-around-hurricane-1798536183
Green, N. (2017, September 8). Poor In Miami: Hoping To Ride Out Irma On Bread And Cans Of Tuna. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/2017/09/08/549295524/poor-in-miami-hoping-to-ride-out-irma-on-bread-and-cans-of-tuna?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170908
Hicks, J. P. (2013, May 23). Report: Blacks Are Disproportionately Affected by Natural Disasters. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from http://www.bet.com/news/national/2013/05/24/african-americans-are-disproportionately-affected-by-disasters.html
Macias, K. (2017, August 25). Hurricane Harvey poised to disproportionately impact blacks in Texas, but no one is talking about it. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://m.dailykos.com/stories/1693142
McGregor, M. N. (2017, July 28). The Vanport Flood. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/essays/the-vanport-flood/#.WbmA3q3MxAY
Shabad, R. (2017, September 4). How Hurricane Harvey’s cost stacks up against past disasters. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-hurricane-harveys-cost-stacks-up-against-past-disasters/
Shapiro, I., & Sherman, A. (2005, September 19). Essential Facts About The Victims of Hurricane Katrina. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://www.cbpp.org/research/essential-facts-about-the-victims-of-hurricane-katrina