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The Impacts of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina on Blacks Aisha Reed Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2006-07 Congressional Fellow.

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Presentation on theme: "The Impacts of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina on Blacks Aisha Reed Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2006-07 Congressional Fellow."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impacts of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina on Blacks Aisha Reed Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2006-07 Congressional Fellow

2 Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina Hurricane Andrew August 1992 NW Bahamas, southern Florida south of Miami, and south-central Louisiana. Resulted in 42 deaths and ~$26 billion in damages with most of the damage occurring in southern Florida Hurricane Katrina August 2005 Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Resulted in over 1000 deaths and ~$81.2 billion in damages

3 Similarities between Andrew and Katrina The destruction that was caused by these two hurricanes made the United States evaluate how they handle disaster situations on all government levels. In both hurricanes the state and local responders were overwhelmed, and the response required outside action and support from many sources. Both storms resulted in a relocation of citizens as they tried to recover and rebuild.

4 Impacts on Blacks In both hurricanes, Blacks were more disproportionately affected by the storm than all other racial groups. This could largely be due to the marginalized communities in which they live which are related to issues of the intersections of race and class. –Most social science research shows that minorities, particularly Blacks, are disproportionately located in poor quality housing segregated into low-valued neighborhoods, which would make their communities more vulnerable to hurricane damage.

5 Impacts from Andrew Hurricane Andrew devastated a considerable portion of metropolitan Dade County, specifically a mostly residential part of the county referred to as South Dade. Ninety percent of the homes in the county were damaged and approximately 49,000 were rendered uninhabitable. More than 180,000 residents in the affected areas left their homes for some period of time. About 28 percent, or 100,000, of South Dade’s 1992 estimated population left hurricane-ravaged South Dade and relocated north of the impact area

6 Blacks and Andrew Approximately 90 percent of South Dade’s Blacks lived in the area with the greatest destruction and highest post hurricane vacancy rates compared to the rest of South Dade. –There were higher levels of overall damage and roof damage indicated by Blacks. Blacks were less likely to relocate after the hurricane due to economic constraints and barriers created by racial segregation. A tour of a Black neighborhood five years following the hurricane revealed homes that had never been repaired and vacant lots on which nothing new had been built because most of the former residents did not have adequate insurance.

7 Blacks and Andrew: Florida City Florida City is a small, predominately black incorporated community which was directly impacted by the storm. Every building in the community was damaged. Many of the residents continued to live in the severely damaged homes for lack of viable alternatives. Families lived for months in houses with damaged roofs, no electricity, and often without running water. Florida City’s economy suffered drastically from the hurricane. A year later, the community had lost 52 percent of its pre-storm business, and it has yet to fully recover.

8 Impacts from Katrina In Louisiana, an estimated 77 percent of Orleans Parish’s population and nearly all of St. Bernard Parish’s population were hard hit by flooding. In Mississippi, 55 percent of Hancock County’s population and 19 percent of Harrison County’s population was affected by flooding and/or structural damage. An estimated 645,000 Louisiana citizens and 66,000 Mississippians may have been displaced by the storm. At their peak, shelters were housing over 270,000 evacuees.

9 Impacts from Katrina The economic and social impact of Hurricane Katrina will be felt for years. Of the families that have been displaced, it is unclear whether they will return home or resettle in new communities; and, it will not be fully known until the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast is complete.

10 Blacks and Katrina The storm impacted heavily on the poor and African Americans. One-fifth of those displaced by the storm were likely to have been poor, and 30 percent had incomes that were below 1 ½ times the poverty level. African Americans accounted for 44 percent of the storm victims. Specifically, an estimated 310, 000 people were directly impacted by the storm in Orleans Parish, and an estimated 272,000 blacks were displaced by flooding or damage, which accounts for 73 percent of the parish’s population. Over one-third (89,000) of the Blacks displaced by the storm were estimated to have been poor, based on the 2000 Census.

11 What’s the Commonality? There are several correlations that can be made regarding the impact of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina on Blacks ranging from the evacuation to the recovery process.

12 Evacuation There are several factors which influence whether or not people will evacuate; and three of them are whether the threat is real, the perceived personal risk, and the presence of an adaptive plan. In Hurricane Andrew there was a short lead time, so the people did not have an adequate amount of time to develop a plan after the evacuation was ordered; however, in Katrina, there was longer lead time, and evacuation orders were given well in advance. However, despite the amount of time that they had to evacuate, it has been observed that low-income and Black households are less likely to comply with evacuation orders due to a lack of transportation and affordable places of refuge.

13 Response Immediately after the storm, in communities and neighborhoods where authorities were slow to respond or non- existent, local churches or other non-profit organizations took the initiative to coordinate relief efforts.

14 Response The American Red Cross did not provide much assistance to the poor, primarily minority communities following both Hurricanes. After Hurricane Andrew, about one third of South Miami Heights had received some type of assistance from the American Red Cross. The community received its emergency and relief assistance, especially during the first weeks, from the aggressive efforts of the local Catholic church, St. Joachim. Similarly, after Hurricane Katrina, there were some areas of New Orleans that the American Red Cross could not aid due to security issues, mainly areas populated by minorities; however, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and local churches provided assistance.

15 Recovery The United States rely heavily upon private insurance payments and the actions of voluntary agencies supplemented by government-sponsored low-interest loans and grants to finance, plan, and implement the reconstruction process after a disaster. Following Andrew, Blacks were much more likely than Whites to report insufficient insurance settlements and this was in part due to differential access to policies with larger corporations.As a result, Black households were not as able to fully recover from Andrew as were white households. In the Gulf Coast region there have been instances in which insurance agencies have not given homeowners enough money to rebuild their homes.

16 Rebuilding Following both hurricanes, there was/has been reluctance to rebuild low rent housing, resulting in a housing shortage, which has allowed landlords to raise the rent and thereby pricing out the original inhabitants of the storm damaged areas. In Miami, it was found that some communities discouraged or slowed down the rebuilding of low- income housing, hoping that the poor or minority communities would relocate. According to Morrow and Peacock, it is probable that some areas of South Dade will be built with fewer low-income families, and they will be concentrated in fewer areas. It has been speculated that the same thing may be happening in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.

17 Possible Solutions The response teams coming to assist the disaster victims should be aware of the culture of the area. It is imperative that the people who are coming to an area to provide assistance to the people are aware of the victims situation and that they are able to communicate what they need to do to get assistance and relief. By the response teams coming to the local offices, in accordance with the previous recommendation, they can become aware of the culture of the area and know how to act accordingly. There should be an initiative in which disadvantaged and minority communities in areas specifically vulnerable to disasters are made aware by FEMA officials of the risks that they may encounter and that they are prepared in case of a disaster. Because some disadvantaged citizens are unaware of the hazards that exist in their area, it is important to educate them on the methods of evacuation, and how and where to apply for assistance in case of a disaster. The knowledge would allow people in marginalized communities to be more aware of their surroundings and their options prior to and following a disaster.

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