Washington, D.C. — With each natural disaster we face, it seems like we discover a new set of challenges for women dealing with the impact of the aftermath.
Sixteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and brought about 135 million dollars in damage, claimed roughly 1,000 lives, and displaced nearly 600,000 people. Hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and federal agencies were slow to act as people spent countless days without water, electricity, food, and housing. Today, we are holding our breath as we wait to see if the damages of those affected by Hurricane Ida are synonymous or even more significant than those of Katrina.
As we wait to examine the fallout, we must acknowledge one significant takeaway—natural disasters fuel the cycle of disparities and inequalities for women, especially women with low incomes and women of color. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and catastrophic as the climate crisis evolves. With these life-altering events exposing systemic barriers within our society and economy, women are the top causalities.
The frequency of these phenomena shrinks the recovery time for women as they struggle to find long-lasting resources that will address the umbrella of issues that emerge from our unstable climate. Some of those issues include homelessness, economic loss, a rise in violence against women, and the loss of access to healthcare. In a few days, weeks, or even months, people will begin to look the other way and leave these women to deal with the aftermath alone. Ignoring this issue perpetuates that cycle, a cycle that ultimately infringes on their civil liberties.
Environmental Justice is an issue that NOW and its members are dedicated to tackling every day. One small step that we all can participate in is aiding the teams on the ground with enough resources to bring some relief to the people impacted by natural disasters. As identified by Gizmodo, here are some local and national organizations that are here to help those affecting by Hurricane Ida:
- Imagine Water Works: this local organization is helping community members locate power sources and is accepting donations that will go towards recovery efforts support.
- Crowdsource Rescue: This Texas-based organization connects volunteers and search and rescue teams to people who need urgent help. They provide remote volunteer options and are accepting donations.
- Rebuilding Together New Orleans: Rebuilding Together New Orleans uses 100% of the materials and funds donated to help rebuild and repair the damaged communities.
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies: this organization is placing its efforts in aiding people with disabilities get what they need during natural disasters. They encourage you to call their hotline for assistance (1-800-626-4959)
- Save the Children: This national organization has developed a relief fund that will bring essential items such as diapers, formula, and cribs to families.
- World Central Kitchen: WCK is accepting donations and volunteers to help bring food to people affected by the storm.
We are thankful for all the volunteers, organizations, people who give, and those who share resources with others. Aid should not stop when buildings are repaired or flood water recedes. Climate justice is a feminist issue, and we must act now to help improve conditions for all women. The cycle must end.