History has shown natural disasters have a far more devastating and life-changing impact on people from marginalised communities than they do on the rich or the established. And as climate change continues and extreme weather events become more frequent - most experts believe Harvey’s power and destructive force was intensified by the effects of climate change - the most vulnerable will suffer even more.
The reasons for this are plentiful, and were already fixed long before Harvey, or Katrina, wound themselves up into Category Four storms and made landfall. “I would point to systemic racism,” Bryan Parrras, treasurer of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, a campaign group, told “Society dictates where a person lives and what they live next to.” In the aftermath of Harvey, Mr Parras has been highlighting how low-income communities and communities of colour have been so agonisingly affected.
“After Katrina, both physical and mental health outcomes were worse among communities of colour and low-income groups.” Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in US history with a price tag of 0 billion, according to an estimate from weather firm Accu Weather.
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It is little surprise that in places such as the Superdome in New Orleans in 2005, and now in the emergency shelters established in Houston, low-income people and people of colour make up the majority of those in need of emergency help.
Charles Daniel, a 76-year-old African American man who was sitting in the George R Brown Convention Centre, close to Ms Sowell and her family, said he had been rescued by boat by members of the fire department.
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