Location, Location, Location: Why Houston’s Poor, Nonwhite Communities Will Bear the Brunt of Harvey’s Fury

Articles | August 29 2017

By Tanasia Kenney

As Hurricane Harvey continues its path of destruction across southeastern Texas, those confined to low-income, nonwhite communities are among the storm’s most vulnerable victims.

The hurricane, now downgraded to a tropical storm, has claimed the lives of eight people and dropped more than 25 inches of rain since making landfall Friday, Aug. 25, according to state officials. Forecasters expect many more inches to fall — 25 more to be exact — in the coming days, as thousands of locals remain stranded in their homes and the flood waters continue to rise.

The Washington Post reported that nearly 2,000 people had been taken to safety, with thousands more still in need of emergency assistance.  The immediate focus has remained on Houston, however, which has seen unprecedented flooding and damage in the wake of Harvey. The National Weather Service said Monday, Aug. 28, that parts of Harris County, which includes Houston, were hit with 30 inches of rain in just 72 hours.

Residents living in poor, nonwhite communities are likely to be the worst affected in such destructive storms like Harvey, as they lack the resources and ability needed to evacuate, according to a report by The Atlantic. To make matters worse, these residents often dwell in segregated neighborhoods where the risk for flooding is the highest, or that are next to toxic petrochemical plants that can overflow during a storm.  (Read more)