New research is examining fuller perspectives on the lethality of hurricanes and tropical cyclones and revealing disproportionate harm upon women and people of color. Death rates in areas hit by tropical cyclones are as much as 33% higher in the months following storms, a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, with women at a greater risk of injury and death than men within one month of a hurricane.
Research published in Science of the Total Environment last month found an 11% increase in eastern North Carolina emergency room admissions for gastrointestinal illnesses during and after Hurricanes Matthew and Florence in 2016 and 2018. Black and American Indian populations saw the biggest increases, reflecting how those groups “have historically been pushed to less desirable, flood-prone land,” lead author Arbor Quist told Inside Climate News. Heavy rain from storms can flood industrial facilities like hog waste lagoons and coal ash ponds, both of which are common in the region replete with examples of environmental racism. (JAMA: The Hill, USA Today; North Carolina: Inside Climate News, Yale Environment 360; Climate Signals background: Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Florence)