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The Poor in Irma's Path

In two Florida cities, we mapped where low-income communities live, and how they’re affected by flood risks.
A little girl surveys the high water levels in Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma recedes.
A little girl surveys the high water levels in Jacksonville after Hurricane Irma recedes.Mark Makela/Reuters

In a stroke of luck, Hurricane Irma turned out to be less “nuclear” than Florida had expected. Still, even as it weakened to a tropical storm Monday on its way up to Georgia and the Carolinas, it left behind a trail of floods and fallen trees. In Florida, an estimated 13 million people were left without power; the extent of the devastation in the Florida Keys is just beginning to surface.

Disasters tend to worsen the already present inequalities in their paths. Irma is no different. The hurricane hit small islands in the Caribbean with all its strength, flattening buildings and leaving around 36 dead. In Florida, too, it’s the poor people of color, the disabled, and the elderly—who may not have been well-positioned to weather the storm in the first place—who will probably pay heavier tolls in its aftermath.