Obama vs. the Low-Income Citizens in Severe Storms
September 4, 2011 • 10:05AM

Tropical Storm Lee thundered ashore with heavy rains just east of New Orleans last night, bringing wind gusts up to 65 mph. It poured onto a city that was transformed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a city which has 110,000 fewer people than it did then. That loss came mainly from the low-income and minority populations that once made up a large part of the city— in part because the housing projects, and neighborhoods such as the Lower Ninth Ward, were never rebuilt. In 2010, five years after the disaster, a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 42% of the African-Americans of New Orleans and surrounding communities, said they still had not recovered from Katrina, compared to 16% for whites. Will Tropical Storm Lee have a similar effect on the lower-income populations this time, as most of us are now? As with Hurricane Irene, the storm is likely to impact poorer populations much harder, especially given that the forecast track has it heading towards Appalachia during the course of the week, a region of the country known for its high poverty rates and susceptibility to flash flooding.

What happened to Vermont as a result of Hurricane Irene may be a preview for what the Appalachian region should expect if Lee brings as much rain as Irene did to Vermont. Because of Vermont's rugged terrain, most roads are built in valleys and along rivers and stream beds, meaning that the flood waters went down the roads. Not only were dozens of bridges taken down, but sections of roads hundreds of yards long were washed away, complicating the state's rebuilding job. "We have areas where we have a mile or more of road that has disappeared into the water," Joseph Flynn, an official with the Vermont Agency of Transportation told the New York Times. "And the upside of the road is all hill. So now you come from a forested hill to bare earth to the rivers. This is thousands of yards long, where you go from the hillside to where the road used to be right to the river." In many cases, especially where entire towns were cut off by the washouts, the roads have to be fixed before equipment can be brought in to fix anything else, including power, water, sewer systems and railroad tracks. The state has mobilized hundreds of National Guardsmen along side its highway department, under military-style command centers, to try to complete the rebuilding job before winter sets in in a couple of months.

This problem is aggravated by the policies of the Obama Administration which, even without natural disasters, are already calculated to wipe out ordinary people who have very little. Even the announcement by the White House's Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 1 acknowledging the need to replenish FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund will do very little to alter this basic fact. OMB director Jack Lew said in a statement, that the debt ceiling deal allows for an extra $11.3 billion for disaster relief for Fiscal year 2012 without busting the budget caps. The number was arrived at by averaging out the amounts appropriated for disaster relief over the past ten years. Lew further stated that the actual need for 2012 is $5.2 billion, a number that didn't include the costs of Hurricane Irene. But Obama, with his love for genocide, won't fight for even that pittance.