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How Do We Keep From Going Hungry During Disasters?

Storms and rising waters threaten cities’ food, but some municipalities are taking steps to keep shelves stocked and bellies full.
A family tries to reach a grocery store in Crisfield, Maryland, after a storm in 2008.
A family tries to reach a grocery store in Crisfield, Maryland, after a storm in 2008.Patty Hancock/AP Photo

After being submerged during Hurricane Katrina, the Circle Food Store, a black-owned grocery serving New Orleans’s 7th Ward since 1938, remained shuttered for eight years. Eventually, buoyed by federal funding and local grants, it reopened in 2014. Then, in August 2017, the waters rose again.

Standing water climbed as torrents of rain splattered across the city and pumps lacked sufficient generators to power them. The tide swallowed the shelves at Circle Food—the highest point, says owner Dwayne Boudreaux Jr., since Katrina struck a decade ago.