Green Party of Florida Co-Chair Robin Harris has arrived in Panama City to aid in relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. She has had experience at this kind of work, having inadvertently been in Houston when Hurricane Harvey devastated that city in 2016.
Robin has been on the scene there, talking with residents who are “still left without the necessities for survival.” She believes the most effective place to give help through is “Mutual Aid Disaster Relief,” a project of the Action Network. They state:
“With climate change, and the extreme weather that accompanies it, disasters are increasing in intensity and frequency. We understand that our work has only just begun. We have established a permanent network of volunteers, supplies, and coordination based on the principles of solidarity and mutual aid and we aim to ramp up our work in impacted communities. We also hope to be capable of responding wherever the next disaster strikes. But we can’t do this without your help.”
In this video, folks are talking about how FEMA is trying to force people to evacuate the area. Even though they have no place to go! And no money to get there.
Below is the statement Robin Harris issued shortly after Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle:
Statement by Robin Harris
Co-Chair, Green Party of Florida
It breaks my heart to again be witnessing more communities destroyed by a natural disaster. You can say that these storms and weather calamities are natural, but the responses from our government and elected officials are anything but natural. As Hurricane Michael tore through Florida’s Panhandle and into Georgia and beyond, so many residents were unprepared because they had been misinformed about the storm’s category level, and our government was as usual willfully unprepared for the aftermath. Our hearts go out to those impacted by the event.
As the accounts keep coming in, we have to clearly state that this disaster is a case of “hurricane gentrification.” Climate change is of course a global issue and it affects us all. But marginalized communities will always carry the burden first and worst and longer. Impoverished communities of color, seniors and low income folks — many already living in devastation and poverty — are now left without water, power, food and even shelter. They have nowhere to go. They have no means to evacuate. They don’t have renters insurance or homeowners insurance. They started with nearly nothing and now that little is gone. Survivors are likened to “pioneers” and their “pioneer spirit” is applauded from the sidelines.
Unfortunately, such groups are politically underrepresented and they are routinely ignored. Their voices are silenced. Once again, post-Hurricane Michael, the media does not give full details of their actual situations. Many low-income areas — which there are so many of in places like Tallahassee or Panama City — are crying out that they have been abandoned, still left without the necessities for survival. FEMA, whose very job is disaster relief, is advising people to get on their computers and fill out relief applications. Great news for those without computers, let alone without electricity.
It appears that there is now a policy among the media, our elected officials, and even non-profit relief agencies, to stifle assistance. They can’t afford to let people get alarmed. After all, if people got all alarmed, they might begin making demands for immediate relief for this disaster, and for making preparations for the disasters to come.
This horrific event has taken place in the heat of a gubernatorial race. Politicians will be doing their utmost to reap political benefit from these calamities.
The Green Party denounces the developers and two-party politicians whose poisonous policies and parasitic profit motives have led to the subjugation of our poor communities. The Green Party stands strong against environmental racism. We demand that these developers and politicians be held responsible for the destruction of our environment. We call for complete restoration of all areas that have been destroyed.
Grassroots organizations must rise up to offer assistance. As co-chair of the Green Party of Florida, I commit us to listening and evaluating the needs of those who have been overlooked. We will organize efforts with coalitions that are decentralized and community-centered, in order to offer relief to victims of Hurricane Michael.