Hurricane Ida Recovery Efforts Must Center on Victims, Not Corporations - US Activist
WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Barrington M. Salmon - The US should not put corporations at the center of Hurricane Ida recovery efforts to ensure funding gets into the hands of those who need it most, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice Executive Director Ashley Shelton told Sputnik.
Hurricane Ida hit the US Gulf Coast at the end of August with winds up to 150 miles-per-hour, which left an aftermath the government is still trying to clean up. Few residents in places like Louisiana were prepared for the Category 4 winds which tore roofs off of homes and businesses, toppled hundreds of miles of electric lines, and overwhelmed infrastructure.
"We have centered corporations, not gotten money into the hands of people who needed it fast enough, and our people suffered because of these decisions," Shelton said when asked about actions needed in the wake of Hurricane Ida. "We have the opportunity to do something different."
Last week, US Congress, in a measure to avert a government shutdown, included funding for recovery efforts in Louisiana and other hurricane-hit areas which was signed by US President Joe Biden.
© REUTERS / Leah MillisDamaged power lines and homes can be seen days after hurricane Ida ripped through Grand Isle, Louisiana, U.S., September 2, 2021.
Damaged power lines and homes can be seen days after hurricane Ida ripped through Grand Isle, Louisiana, U.S., September 2, 2021.
Shelton said it is imperative that policymakers understand communities cannot simply move forward "without deep investments in programs that support individuals and families," given this unprecedented crisis.
"Investing in workers, children and family services, housing, environmental justice, public safety, and creating people-centered tax policy can change the outcome [for] Louisiana when we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and as we move forward to a brighter future," Shelton said.
Leaders at all levels of government, Shelton added, must choose compassion while ensuring that federal dollars get to the people who need help the most.
8 September 2021, 23:37 GMT
Shelton also said the hurricane was just one more crisis piled onto the poor and Louisiana's Black, brown and Native American residents.
"Before the storm hit, we were battling the fourth surge of COVID-19 and Delta. Our hospitals were already at capacity, and Hurricane Ida exacerbated all the things that were happening in our community," Shelton said. "We are dealing with multiple traumas."
The Power Coalition and its partners developed a "Roadmap to Recovery" which encompasses policy changes and investments that could lead to more equitable communities. The Power Coalition had a soft-launch on September 24.