Human Rights in Disaster Policy: Improving the Federal Response to Natural Disasters, Disease Pandemics, and Terrorist Attacks
Megadisasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and existing and emerging pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and bird flu are likely to outdo even those scourges of the twentieth century, war and economic collapse, in destroying American lives and undermining the democratic constitution of the U.S. In a matter of days, these events claimed more fatalities than months of intense war fare or unremitting poverty (see Rao, 1973; Specter, 2004). Given that the September 11th World Trade Center attack triggered a recession, a hurricane strike on New York or bird flu pandemic could put enough people and infrastructure out of commission that another Great Depression could ensue (Crouch, 2006). Twenty-first century national emergencies in the U.S. also aggravate long- standing human rights crises involving racial, ethnic and class-based disparities. America's urban centers are at gravest risk for such global threats as terrorism, mass casualty earthquakes and the flooding of coastal cities, heat waves, and pandemics of infectious disease spread via international travel and shipping (Lies, 2005; Schmid, 2005). These urban centers, in turn, and inhabited by some of the nation's least powerful residents, including racial and ethnic minorities and recent immigrants, the unemployed residents of our deindustrialized inner-city neighborhoods, single mothers and their children, and the elderly struggling to survive on fixed incomes (U.S. Census Bureau, 2005; Williams, 2001; Wilson, 1996). Minority communities in particular tend to suffer Disproportionately from disasters because their financial reserves are frequently Insufficient to ride out displacement or job losses, their housing is less resilient, Their neighborhoods more exposed to storms or flooding, and government and Private assistance are slower arriving in their areas (Salmon, 2005).
Carolina Academic Press
Human Rights, Natural Disaster, Disaster relief, Hurricane Katrina, 2005, Social aspects, Marginality, Federal Response, Government policy, Terrorist Attacks, Disease Pandemics
Inequality and Stratification | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations
Hannibal Travis, Human Rights in Disaster Policy: Improving the Federal Response to Natural Disasters, Disease Pandemics, and Terrorist Attacks, in THROUGH THE EYE OF KATRINA : SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES, 2nd ed., (Kristin A. Bates and Richelle S. Swan eds., 2010).