Friday, October 12, 2018

Fleeing natural disasters tough for poor, rural residents

Escaping hurricanes (and other natural disasters like wildfires or tornadoes) is particularly difficult for the rural poor. Some don’t have driver’s licenses, like Gene Bearden of the Florida panhandle town of Panacea. A sheriff’s deputy wrote him a pass allowing him to drive while evacuating Hurricane Michael, but he ended up weathering the storm one town away in his parked truck, Patricia Mazzei reports for The New York Times.

Others just don’t have the money or a car. “Some people are getting out of town, but that’s not an option for me. I have no money, no job, no connections,” Tony Clower, a Kinston, North Carolina, resident who is homeless, told the Asheville Citizen-Times before Hurricane Florence.

And for the poor, who often don’t have savings, the losses suffered can be harder to recover from. Jack Cattledge, who lives in the same RV park in Panacea, said he estimated Michael had caused about $1,000 in damage to his camper, and said he had likely lost $300-$500 in groceries in his freezer, Mazzei reports. 

Hurricanes are doubly hurtful for farmers, many of whom can ill afford to lose profits. Harvests have been ruined by the one-two whammy of Florence and Michael, and farmers must also deal with clean-up costs. 

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