Housing Low Income Victims Of Hurricane Matthew Should Be Top Priority

African-Americans and other low-income people in southeastern U.S. suffer climate change effects, as they are displaced from their homes.

Way before Hurricane Matthew started to unleash its forces on the southeastern part of America, over 100,000 people were already homeless, as a result of the destruction caused by the extreme weather conditions.

Activists demand that governments aid organizations and disaster relief programs involve more serious measures to address climate change and introduce a better hurricane preparation plan to get ready for the next disaster; it can’t go without saying that this crisis doesn’t impact everybody equally – and neither should the plans and strategies for tackling the disaster.

Communities of color and low-income families suffer the most from the extreme climate. From Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast to the Superstorm Sandy in the northeast, people of color residing in low-income communities are on the front lines of extreme climate change effects and the last to recuperate from its destruction.

It’s no coincidence that poor families and people of color reside in the communities or low-lying areas with weak and crumbling infrastructure. The condition was created and institutionalized by prejudiced housing policies that gave a restriction to where people of color could reside through restrictive covenants, racial steering, zoning policies, and other explicitly racist tools, with the aim of confining people of color to living in those areas.

Predominantly white communities are less likely than unprivileged communities and communities of color to be in or around exposed areas like toxic waste facilities and flood plains. People of color are also more likely to live in neighborhoods that have seen underinvested infrastructures for decades, hence making it more difficult for them to endure extreme weather changes and almost impossible to recover from a disaster.

It is horrible to understand that because of racial discrimination, Black people are not protected from extreme weather conditions that could really destroy people’s lives. We demand immediate measures to address the danger, or the situation may end with a lasting tragedy like the issue of Hurricane Katrina, which is the costliest and among the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Source: Time
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