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Ethnicity and Minority Status Effects on Preparedness

  • By: Nadia J. Siddiqui, Jonathan P. Purtle & Dennis P. Andrulis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Participation of the entire populace in preparing for and responding to an event is imperative to minimizing harm and saving lives. Racial and ethnic minorities, defined as groups differing from the majority population by race, culture, or language, are often more vulnerable in times of disaster, yet are frequently not included in disaster plans and suffer disproportionately from adverse outcomes. This became especially evident in the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the Gulf Coast region on August 29, 2005. The areas most affected by the hurricane were predominantly poor and African American.

A combination of factors associated with minority status contributes to the disaster vulnerability of racially and ethnically diverse populations. These include the social and economic conditions that often characterize ...

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