A Disaster Waiting to Happen

By Tram Nguyen Jun 01, 2007

An L.A. Times story yesterday reported the results of a poll that found only half of Angelenos would obey official orders to evacuate in the event of a terrorist attack. The Department of Health Services report, released this week, elaborates on the county’s worrying lack of emergency preparedness—especially among low-income and non-English speaking residents. Well, you can’t say we didn’t tell ya. ColorLines ran a cover story last year, at the one-year anniversary of Katrina, that found even deeper reason for concern. With the millions of Homeland Security money that poured into L.A.—the second-highest funded county in the nation—large pockets of the city where Latinos, Asians and Blacks live are still left out of the preparedness message. Not only are they not getting the message, they wouldn’t be able to obey evacuation orders even if they wanted to. Up to 38 percent of households lack a car in parts of South Central, Compton and Long Beach, where the poverty rate is 40 percent or higher. Is Southern California another Katrina waiting to happen? Watch our video to see why communities of color are concerned: