As the media focuses on the wealthier, seaside communities of Sanibel Island and Fort Myers post-Hurricane Ian, residents of Dunbar, a historically African American neighborhood, say they're dealing with the aftermath of the storm with little to no assistance.
"They're saying the islands got destroyed," said 24-year-old Lexxus Cherry, 24, per NPR. "Well, we're destroyed, too. We're really messed up here."
The squat homes that make up much of Dunbar currently have no electricity, thin brown "water" unsafe to drink comes out of their faucets, and the smell of sewage looms over the neighborhood's streets, NPR reports.
As of Sunday (October 2), about 580,000 people around the city were still left without power, and boil water notices were in effect for an estimated 120 areas in 22 counties, per NPR.
But when residents of the historically Black neighborhood call the power and water authorities for assistance, they are given vague assurances instead of concrete solutions.
"I understand that the city is trying its best to restore everybody's power, but this is a common thing that I'm seeing in cities around America," said Ta'Wan Grant, Cherry's uncle. "Whenever a disaster happens, for some reason the city is slow to respond to people in ethnic communities, in low-income communities."
Climate-related disasters have historically highlighted and, in some cases, exacerbated inequality.
Experts say this is, in part, due to recovery policies that fail to distribute post-disaster aid in equitable ways, per NBC.
According to the outlet, Black households typically receive less aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) compared to their white counterparts.
Cherry's mother, Chanel, who lives a few blocks away in low-income housing, said she's had "no water, no ice, no nothing," since early last week.
"I haven't seen one police [officer] come to check on the community where we live," she said.
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