Hurricane Harvey's AftermathPlace, Race, and Inequality in Disaster Recovery

Hurricane Harvey's AftermathPlace, Race, and Inequality in Disaster Recovery

Kevin M. Fitzpatrick and Matthew L. Spialek

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781479800735

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

Early June begins the Southern Hemisphere hurricane season. Stretching into November, it can often be a time of weary waiting and cautious optimism for coastal residents. Clear skies and calm seas can quickly give way to disaster. On August 27, 2017, a Category 4 hurricane (Harvey), targeting the Texas Gulf Coast and packing winds of over 130 miles per hour, wreaked havoc and created a path of destruction with bands of rain that seemingly went on forever. Lives were lost, neighborhoods devastated, resiliency cracked; yet people continued helping each other, and the recovery process began. Fitzpatrick and Spialek tell a complicated story of heartache, destruction, resiliency, recovery, and hope. Through over 300 interviews from Hurricane Harvey survivors living along the Texas Gulf Coast, their stories tell an all-too-familiar tale. Interviewing survivors with diverse displacement experiences, the authors create a narrative around who, what, where, and why residents sought refuge in shelters, hotels, and other alternative locations. Some residents have since moved back. Others have been rebuilding for months and even years. And there are some residents who will never return home. Their stories, circumstances, and insight into the recovery processes are all very different, yet intimately tied together through an understanding of how race and place come to define their experiences. This book tells survivors’ stories while emphasizing that who those survivors were and where they lived had a major impact on these tales of destruction, resiliency, and recovery.