This isn’t a race thing:
People living in the path of Hurricane Katrina’s worst devastation were twice as likely as most Americans to be poor and without a car — factors that may help explain why so many failed to evacuate as the storm approached.
An Associated Press analysis of Census data shows that the residents in the three dozen hardest-hit neighborhoods in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama also were disproportionately minority and had incomes $10,000 below the national average.
“Let them know we’re not bums. We have houses. Our houses were destroyed. We have jobs. It’s not our fault that we didn’t have cars to leave,” Shatonia Thomas, 27, said as she walked near New Orleans’ convention center five days after the storm, still trapped in the destruction with her children, ages 6 and 9.
Money and transportation — two keys to surviving a natural disaster — were inaccessible for many who got left behind in the Gulf region’s worst squalor.
“It’s a different equation for poor people,” explained Dan Carter, a University of South Carolina historian. “There’s a certain ease of transportation and funds that the middle class in this country takes for granted.”
This isn’t a race thing. This was a money thing, and right now, FEMA, the states, and every city and town and regional disaster preparedness group better be doing a gut-check to make sure that evacuation plans and contingency plans include those who are least prepared to fend for themselves.