When a hurricane, wildfire, or other disaster is about to strike, local officials sometimes tell residents to evacuate to safety.
But for people who do not have cars, evacuating can be difficult — if not impossible.
Perez: “And so oftentimes, those who rely on public transit really face much longer wait times or are literally left behind.”
Yesenia Perez is with the Greenlining Institute, which advocates for economic and environmental justice for people of color.
In a recent report, her group noted that during Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of people had no way to evacuate by car. And many struggled to find trains or buses to take them to safety.
And in 2017, when a wildfire hit Santa Rosa, California, residents of some senior homes had to be rescued from the flames by family and emergency responders.
These risks affect some communities more than others.
Perez: “The burden falls hardest on low-income communities and communities of color who already have existing mobility challenges and access.”
As climate change intensifies, extreme weather will become more common.
So Perez says communities and governments need to plan how to get all residents to safety when disaster is about to strike.
Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media