Lecture 6: Urban Emergencies ( Emergencies and Disasters (Emergencies…
Lecture 6: Urban Emergencies
"There is no such thing as a natural disaster
Looking at urban resilience, how cities govern/mitigate and the suspension of the norm when urban crisis occurs.
the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and dies is to a greater extent a social calculus
What is a social calculus? Ethics? Determination of who dies depends on institutional power? Inequalities within society are exacerbated during disasters.
it's not the disaster which makes a disaster, it is societies' inequality"
E.g. Hurricane Katrina when technology failed.
Emergencies and Disasters
Emergencies disproportionately effect the likes of the poor, race, class, gender etc. It is not natural.
Anastario et al. 2009
look at how there has been an
increased gender-based violence among women internally displaced in Mississippi 2 years post-Hurricane Katrina
In a Marxist perspective, disasters are also an opportunity for economic gain.
calls this "disaster capitalism" where the power of the state can increase post disaster allowing the likes of gentrification and private enterprise leap towards houses "fit for destruction"
But what do we mean by an emergency? Most liberal democratic societies have been able to not use parliament or a judiciary as emergencies allow governments to use executive power.
investigates Haiti and looks at
, she looks at Port-Au Prince and how you can distinct who experiences the disaster. Aid workers are able to move easily whereas the locals have no way to leave.
Hurricane Katrina & The Evacuation of New Orleans
Four city levees broke, 80% of city flooded, 2000 deaths, major displacement. Many refugees treated with disdain when moving to the likes of Texas.
Most affected are disproportionate amounts of black and Hispanic communities.
Army not responsible, engineers blamed for not having incentive to improve the levees pre-Katrina
A media spectacle, advertised as successful to viewers with 25,000 evacuated by helicopter. But it was a failure
The congressional report post Katrina was damaging as the gov. overestimated the state and thought everyone had equal mobility and resources.
Most affected by the disaster were people who did not own cars, which FEMUR overestimated measuring only white populations with cars as a general understanding on New Orleans. 68% of the population also did not have access to credit cards, thus emergency funds were limited.
The structure of the city also linked to race. Most white, middle class people lived in the suburbs and
acknowledges the advantages suburban infrastructure had in evacuation.
Disorder in the Astrodome. Planned many to be moved into the dome but did not happen as city buses were flooded. 11,000 stayed in inhuman conditions and poor sanitation.
Media portrayed instances of rape, murder but much of this narrative was not true.
Due to suspended rights from executive powers, proportions of minority populations were incarcerated/arrested with no proof. In addition, legal representation was almost impossible as many lawyers had evacuated. Thus can justice be done mid disaster?
Refugees, mainly minorities, were approached by neighbouring towns such as Gretna with death threats from the police if they were to relocate here. However, the freedom of movement suspension was only intra-state and not city. It was a legal move from refugees but met with problematic abuse of the law.
Politics of race and representation clear here, too. Two newspaper articles, one with a black couple and one with a white man. Black couple considered to be "looting" a store, whereas the white man was met with sympathy as he was "finding" food in the store. Clear white privilege.
Camp Greyhound, an inhumane detention centre where urban emergencies legitimized the use of extreme security practices thanks to no stable legislation.
a book of a Syrian-American building contractor who sends family away during Katrina but stops back to look after the properties and help people out . He is approached by Femur and placed into Camp Greyhound. Detained for 28 days with no charges, just misidentified as a terrorist.