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Income Inequality and Disaster Relief

  • By: Stephanie M. Ruhl & Patric R. Spence
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Income inequality has been found to operate as a barrier to disaster relief efforts; specifically, low and underclass populations are often hardest hit by disasters, because of compounding factors regarding inadequate access to messages, media, and housing opportunities.

Vulnerability is partially the product of social inequalities, that is, the social factors that make particular groups more susceptible to harm and impede their ability to respond and partake in measures of self-efficacy. Although vulnerability is often examined in relation to disaster and crisis preparation, it is not unique to disaster preparation; it also exists after the disaster is over, and continues as recovery and relief begins. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the United States became more aware of the vulnerability of many New Orleans residents. The most ...

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