Variations in disaster aid acquisitions among ethnic groups in a rural community
Galindo, Kim Blanca
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This research adds greater dimensions to the understanding of the recovery-aid acquisition process for households in rural communities with a racially heterogeneous and contentious population. The study population is divided into three categories based on ethnicity: Anglo, African-American, and Hispanic. The disaster-recovery process assessed if variations exist the disaster-aid acquisition process of households which correlate with ethnicity. During the investigation, researchers examined if the sources of disaster-aid a household was able to acquire was influenced by ethnicity. Relationships along ethnic lines were also examined in the types of aid acquired by the various groups. These measurements were undertaken to see if different paths to housing recovery resulted in differential rates of recovery. The societal context in which these processes took place has also been considered to establish if it affected the speed and efficiency of the recovery process. This research has helped identify some common problems faced in the disaster-recovery process by resource strapped communities, which also lack the ability to effectively engage vertical and horizontal ties to promote speedy and equitable recovery after a major natural disaster. Results indicate that ethnicity plays a significant role in the disaster-aid acquisition process, but one that varies from expectations developed through a review of previous literature on this subject. These finding may be an indication that the ethnic variations examined in this casestudy are an artifact of social-status and social-integration more so than because of any cultural construct of a particular ethnic group. The overreaching implications of this study show, however, that ethnicity is an important variable in determining the process and availability of major sources of recovery aid in the housing recovery process, particularly in a rural community.