The Disaster Relief Project: Protecting Those Most Vulnerable To Natural Disasters

Los soldados de la Guardia Nacional de Texas asisten a residentes afectados por las inundaciones causadas por el Huracán Harvey en Houston, 27 de Agosto de 2017. Foto tomada por el Teniente Zachary West de la Guardia NacionalTexas National Guard soldiers assist residents affected by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Aug. 27, 2017. National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to devastate Houston, we’re reminded of how natural disasters disproportionately effect low-income populations. The poor and elderly may lack the resources to follow evacuation protocol. Undocumented immigrants may fear passing through Border Patrol checkpoints and choose instead to remain in dangerous areas. This piece written for the Scientific American underscores how the politics of geography make the poor more vulnerable to disasters.

“In many cases, the poor are simply in the wrong place, historically situated in low, flood-prone, economically cheaper areas. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’ poor Ninth Ward because it was the lowest neighborhood in the city; the floods last year on the Mississippi River repeated that pattern among the poor.” – Doug Struck, Environmental Health News

Fortunately for working class Nebraskans, Legal Aid’s Disaster Relief Project offers free services to both prepare for, and to aid in recovery from disasters. Here are just a few:

  • see if you live in a flood plain using this interactive map
  • print and fill out our Family Emergency Plan Cards so that you know where and how to meet loved ones in the wake of a flood
  • protect yourself with the right kind of policy through the National Flood Insurance Program
  • use our step-by-step how-to’s to walk yourself through the claim process

We also have a network of 150 volunteer attorneys prepared to offer pro-bono advice on civil legal matters across all 93 counties in the state. We can help you recover vital records lost to flooding, help you avoid contractor fraud as you recover from a flood, help you apply for FEMA benefits, or advise you through a dispute with your landlord over damages or your right to break your lease.


Please consider donating to the relief efforts in Houston

Houston Food Bank

Houston Humane Society

If you decide to give to another aid organization, always check their credentials at Unfortunately, it’s common for scammers to pose as charities in order to profit off of disasters.

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