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Monthly Archives: September 2009

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans leaving death and destruction across the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Gulf Coast counties. The lethargic and inept emergency response that followed exposed institutional flaws, poor planning, and false assumptions that are built into the emergency response and homeland security plans and programs. Questions linger: What went wrong? Can it happen again? Is our government equipped to plan for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from natural and manmade disasters? Can the public trust government response to be fair? Does race matter?Racial disparities exist in disaster response, cleanup, rebuilding, reconstruction, and recovery. Race plays out in natural disaster survivors’ ability to rebuild, replace infrastructure, obtain loans, and locate temporary and permanent housing. Generally, low-income and people of color disaster victims spend more time in temporary housing, shelters, trailers, mobile homes, and hotels-and are more vulnerable to permanent displacement. Some “temporary” homes have not proved to be that temporary. In exploring the geography of vulnerability, Clark Atlanta University Prof.Robert Bullard and Dillard University Prof. Beverly Wright explore why some communities get left behind economically, spatially, and physically before and after disasters strike.