Major flood would hit Los Angeles Black communities disproportionately hard, study finds
In Los Angeles, more than half of its residents are black, and more than one-third of all deaths from floods have been attributed to residents of minority communities. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/LAist/LAist)
The people of color living in Los Angeles are going to be disproportionately affected by a disastrous flood. A new study by researchers at UCLA and UC Irvine found that the city is already experiencing more than its fair share of deaths as a result of climate-related floods.
The researchers, working with Los Angeles County Flood Control District, mapped where climate-related flooding is occurring at high risk in California, where the city’s residents are disproportionately represented.
They also analyzed the number of deaths from the resulting floods over the past five years by neighborhood, race and ethnicity. The researchers found that most of the flood deaths were among people of color, in particular African Americans and American Indians.
Overall, there were 729 deaths between 2012 and 2016 in Los Angeles caused by climate-related flooding – a figure that’s expected to rise dramatically to about 700 people annually by 2030. Most of those deaths were in minority neighborhoods.
The results are the latest to come out of the National Climate Assessment, a report released earlier this month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report notes that “floods have become more frequent and more severe in recent decades.”
The report states, “Southern California could be expected to face more frequent and longer-lasting floods in the future, with more frequent extreme weather events and a greater frequency of potential coastal flooding over the next 50 years.”
The researchers’ findings echo those of UCLA’s Center for the Study of the Black Community, which in its study found that the city’s most vulnerable communities are predominantly black, and that more than half of all deaths from floods in the city have been attributed to the communities’ residents.
A more detailed description of the findings is available in the report.
The study’s findings:
Between 2012 and 2016, the number of deaths increased in black neighborhoods where there were a higher risk of a flood than in other neighborhoods. There are 729 people who died from flooding in Los Angeles, of which about a third were black. Of the people who died because of floods, 61 percent were men