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Report: Latinos face much higher flood risks than other U.S. residents

FILE - A person carries sands bags through water as heavy rains cause streets to flood in Hoboken, N.J., on Sept. 29, 2023. Revved-up climate change now permeates Americans’ daily lives with harm that is “already far-reaching and worsening across every region of the United States," a massive new government report says Tuesday, Nov. 14. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah, File)
Stefan Jeremiah
/
AP
FILE - A person carries sands bags through water as heavy rains cause streets to flood in Hoboken, N.J., on Sept. 29, 2023. Revved-up climate change now permeates Americans’ daily lives with harm that is “already far-reaching and worsening across every region of the United States," a massive new government report says Tuesday, Nov. 14. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah, File)

A new report from Headwaters Economics and the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) finds that Latinos face substantially higher flood risks in the country.

So far this year, one in four Latinos lived in a county that had a federally declared flood disaster, a far higher rate than the 1 in 10 non-Latinos who lived in such counties, many of which are scattered across the West.

The report also found Latino households experience larger wealth losses in the wake of major flooding and often struggle to access federal aid. Historic disinvestment, language barriers and vulnerable legal statuses are some factors.

Vanessa Muñoz, a conservation program manager with HAF, said the findings underscore

“the urgency for comprehensive strategies that encompass community engagement. So, really listening to the community's needs when it comes to policy reform and infrastructure enhancements.”

The report recommends that government agencies invest in bilingual materials and community trust building, as well as investing in infrastructure improvements and safe, affordable housing.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

As Boise State Public Radio's Mountain West News Bureau reporter, I try to leverage my past experience as a wildland firefighter to provide listeners with informed coverage of a number of key issues in wildland fire. I’m especially interested in efforts to improve the famously challenging and dangerous working conditions on the fireline.
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