September 01, 2005

hurricane justice issues

I'm borrowing this from the folks at Center of Concern. (It's from their Education for Justice site that I subscribe t0). It's very important I think to stress the justice issues involved in this disaster. Large numbers of those effected need our help - the do not have insurance or savings. The numbers speak for themselves:

Poverty in the Region Hit by Hurricane Katrina
• The percent of persons living below the poverty level in Gulfport and Biloxi (the hardest hit cities) in Mississippi is 17.7% and 14.6 % respectively, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1999.
• The poverty rate for the city of New Orleans is an astounding 27.9%, as reported by the 2000 U.S Census Bureau.
• The median household income for New Orleans residents in 2000 was $27,133, compared to a median of $41,994 for the U.S. population as a whole.
• 32% of children under 18 in New Orleans are below the poverty level.

Disasters Hit The Poor the Hardest
• Poor people live in homes which are not as sturdy, stable and safe as others. Many homes of the poor in New Orleans were old, one story wooden structures.
• The places where those in poverty live are often the most vulnerable, overcrowded and the first to flood.
• It is much more difficult for the poor to evacuate. Many don’t have cars. They cannot afford to get train or plane tickets for their families and they have no place to go.
• Low income people are least likely to have insurance to rebuild. They often have no savings for emergencies.
When jobs are lost in disasters, their jobs are often the first to go.
• Poor people can become emotionally dysfunctional because of constant crises, no hope and little resources to deal with living on the edge and post-traumatic stress.