Map showing Hurricane Andrew

Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew destroyed a housing camp for migrant workers near Miami.

Kirk: “In the day prior to Hurricane Andrew, Everglades Labor Camp had 400 trailers and approximately 300 residents. In the day after Hurricane Andrew, there were fewer than six trailers standing, surrounded by approximately 50 acres of bent and twisted metal.”

Steven Kirk is president of Rural Neighborhoods, a nonprofit that provides housing to migrant workers in south Florida.

He says, luckily, everyone had been evacuated, but the disaster showed how important it is to protect migrant workers when hurricanes strike. But doing so can be a challenge.

Kirk: “Most do not speak English as a first language. Most do not subscribe to a newspaper.”

The disaster showed the importance of protecting migrant workers, but there are challenges. Click To Tweet

So it can be hard to warn them of approaching storms.

And when a hurricane hits, migrants’ legal status can be another barrier.

Kirk: “They’re fearful to even approach someone or go to a shelter.”

Hurricanes are expected to get more intense as the climate warms. With nearly 200,000 migrant farm workers and their families coming to Florida each year, addressing barriers to evacuation is more important than ever.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: Wikipedia.

Topics: Weather Extremes