Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast a year ago today, killing more than 150 people in the United States and creating disaster areas in eight states. Damage estimates ran into the scores of billions of dollars, and to $19 billion for New York City alone.
And though the storm did massive damage to upscale properties up and down the coast, the worst was felt by people at the other end of the economic scale. As Colorlines reported:
In a cruel twist of irony, Sandy smashed into the world's wealthiest city but hit its poorest neighborhoods the hardest. Hardscrabble Red Hook, Coney Island, and the Rockaways were left wrecked by the storm. Working class Staten Island looked as if a tactical nuclear bomb had gone off. One out of three people who died from Sandy in the United States lived in New York City. Almost all of them came from the boroughs [that] working poor and non-salaried New Yorkers call home.
Scientists are drawing connections between extreme weather events like Sandy and global climate change. The Daily Circuit looks at the impact of climate change on low-income communities. How can the government or other agencies help them increase their resiliency in the face of extreme bad weather?
LEARN MORE ABOUT POOR PEOPLE AND EXTREME WEATHER:
Extreme Weather Hurts Low-Income People Most
Ross uses superstorm Sandy to illustrate her point. The majority of New York City storm-surge victims were low-income renters, she writes, citing a statistic provided by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Residents of subsidized high-rise apartments were trapped inside their homes in large numbers during the storm, often because they had nowhere to go and no way to leave. In other cases, elderly or disabled individuals living at or below the poverty line were stranded inside high-rise towers when power outages put elevators out of service. (National Journal)
• Why building 'resilience' matters, and needs to confront injustice and inequality
States have the legal and political responsibility to reduce the risks faced by poor people, and ensure that they are borne more evenly across society. And note that equality is NOT about everyone having the same resources and support. Disadvantaged people require more services and support simply to give them equal life chances.(Debbie Hillier, Oxfam)