Grassroots Effort Looks to Devise Neighborhood-based Disaster Preparedness Plans to Ensure That All Families Have Access to Recovery Resources
Miami, Fl- Miami organizations who served thousands of residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Monday announced a series of community resilience meetings that looks to improve disaster response networks in low-income communities.
The first meeting occured Monday evening at C.W. Thomas Park (800 NW 2nd St, Dania Beach, FL 33004) in Dania Beach.
The meetings will run through next Thursday, May 3rd with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 24th in North Miami-Dade with SantLa Haitian Neighborhood Center. Click here for a full list of meetings.
Kick-0ff Announcement in Little Haiti
Speakers who assembled at the Little Haiti Cultural Center noted that Hurricane Irma proved that Florida residents, government and physical infrastructure are not yet fully prepared for a severe natural disaster. Neighborhood-specific preparedness plans must be created with particular attention paid to localized storm ready communications systems, physical resources, flood protected infrastructure and storage for food and medicine.
“South Florida faces many challenges in protecting residents from imminent threats of climate change, particularly in our most vulnerable communities,” said Nancy Metayer. Climate Justice Program Manager at New Florida Majority (NewFM). “With a better plan, we can ensure that all Florida residents are ready for another Irma.”
Participating organizations in South Florida include: New Florida Majority, Catalyst Miami, Make the Homeless Smile, the Miami Climate Alliance (MCA), WeCount, FANM, Community Justice Project, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), the Miami Workers Center (MWC), MH Action, PowerU, Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center & SEIU Florida.
“It is vital to create spaces for low income families around the resilience building table. After all, they are usually in the first line of fire when disasters strike. They must part of the dialogue to create 100% resilience neighborhoods throughout Miami Dade and Broward Counties,” said FANM Executive Director Marleine Bastien.
Click here to see remarks from other speakers, including Valancia “Vee” Gunder of Make the Homeless Smile, Alana Greer of the Community Justice Project, Marilyn Nelson of SantLa Haitian Neighborhood Center, Ailine Francois of FANM, Maggie Fernandez of the Miami Climate Alliance and Andrea Mercado, Executive Director of the New Florida Majority. Remarks were also delivered in Kreyol and Spanish.
The community meetings in historically vulnerable neighborhoods in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are just one part of a larger statewide initiative dedicated to building better resilience infrastructure within low-income neighborhoods. By bringing together a wide coalition of organizations, the Florida Disaster Resilience Initiative (FL DRI) hopes that these locally-based networks can operate more effectively with government programs, communities and advocates during times of disasters. Other activities include a community-level disaster simulation that will help to further identify key response gaps and generate multi-sector solutions.
“Until we start having real conversations about disaster resilience and preparedness, and its impacts on the most vulnerable, there will always be a need for climate and environmental advocacy,” added Metayer.