Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Minorities, poor most vulnerable to hurricanes

Louisiana Weekly: A recent demographic study of the areas previously ravaged by massive hurricanes found that the people most likely to be affected by catastrophe tend to be poorer minority persons with household income and median home value well below state or regional averages.

“The data were conclusive; the people most likely to be affected by catastrophe in the regions we studied were disproportionately minorities, poor and living in housing that is substantially below regional or national averages,” said Peter J. McDonough, an adjunct professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, who conducted the study. The report was commissioned by Pro­tec­

“The notion that catastrophe protection programs are designed to bailout the wealthy owners of beachfront properties is clearly not supported by any demographic analysis. In fact, this study suggests that quite the opposite is true,” McDonough said.

The report, “The Demographics of Catastrophe,” which was released in October, 2009, compared the statewide demographic profile of persons living in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Texas with that of the U.S. population generally. The study also looked at data from cities and counties and compared that to state and national data. Those areas included Miami Dade County (FL), Orleans Parish (Louisiana), New Orleans, Louisiana and Gal­ves­ton, Texas.

In late May, researchers from the University of California released a study that concluded that climate change is disproportionately affecting the poor and minorities in the United States — a “climate gap” that will grow in coming decades unless policymakers intervene. The researchers said that while all segments of the human population are beginning to feel changes brought about by global warming — particularly with heat waves, increased air pollution, drought and more intense storms — the effects have disproportionately impacted the health, economics and overall quality of life of minorities and the poor….

Hurricane Katrina damage in Gulfport, Mississippi, shot by FEMA

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