Why People Leave Disaster Prone Areas
Kevin Felts 03.28.18
Who wants to live in a disaster prone area? The honest truth is, no place in the United States safe from natural disasters. However, some areas are less prone to disasters, but overall nobody is safe.
California has droughts, mudslides, and wildfires.
Northern regions have blizzards.
Southern regions along the gulf coast have sweltering summer heat, tropical storms and hurricanes.
East coast is hurricane prone.
Central United States is known as tornado alley.
Then there are localized disasters, such as flooding along rivers and rock slides.
So it is not a matter of avoiding disasters, it may be a matter of picking your poison. However, some people are at the mercy of disasters.
Unable To Return
People may evacuate, but are unable to return home. One such example were people who evacuated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The extensive flooding made is almost impossible for people to return.
One example from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was a lady who worked for a large oil company. She spent less than 24 hours at shelter in southeast Texas. Her employer set her up with an apartment in Houston, and that is probably where she settled.
Low income families are most likely not to return after a disaster. Chances are a lot of them were renters, and after the disaster the owner took the insurance money then sold the property as-is
Unable to Evacuate
Some people are physically unable to evacuate. This is usually from age related complications, or disabilities. It takes a great deal of effort to relocate a bedridden person in a vegetative state before, during or after a disaster.
Knowing they are unable to evacuate, certain groups may pick areas less prone to certain types of disasters.
For example, if someone is wheelchair bound it may be easier for them to be snowed in for a few days, than have to evacuate hundreds of miles in the face of a hurricane.
In the article we talked about Hurricane Katrina. So here is something a little more recent.
PORT ARTHUR — A disaster relief group has released numbers to KFDM showing Port Arthur’s population has gone down by 5,000 since Harvey hit.
As a result, the city is in danger of losing federal funding.
Nearly seven months since Harvey flooded Port Arthur, homes in Vista Village, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, remain damaged and vacant.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Port Arthur, Texas had a population of 55,427 in 2016.
5,000 is 9.02% of 55,427.
Think about that for a minute. Hurricane Harvey caused 9% of just one city to relocate. Harvey affected dozens on communities along the gulf coast.