Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms to strike this nation, with winds reaching 155 miles per hour, devastated communities in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday. At least 11 people are known to have died and that number is expected to rise. More than 1.5 million were without power Thursday and many remained displaced.
Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen called for action to help those who have suffered because of the storm.
“We call on the federal government and state governments in areas affected by the storm to make all the necessary resources available to help people attain shelter, recover, and move forward with their lives,” Dillen said.
“From more devastating storms on the East Coast to raging wildfires across the West, extreme weather is threatening all of us,” said Dillen, adding: “Hurricane Michael was fueled by a warming ocean, and sea level rise is leading to more devastation, dangerous storm surges and greater flooding, increasing risks to property and human life.”
↔ sideways for before/after imagery]
“Before” imagery: Mapbox, Digital Globe, OpenStreetMap; “After” imagery: NOAA National Geodetic Survey
Mexico Beach, Florida, before and after Hurricane Michael.
Dillen said the failure of the nation’s leaders to address and reverse climate change increases everyone’s vulnerability to harm.
“In failing to take every action possible to arrest climate change, and in failing to invest in our communities to better prepare them for new climate realities, our government is failing us,” said Dillen. “When we look away from climate change, we look away from people in harm’s way, and now we are living with consequences that are tragic.”
Just over three weeks ago, North Carolina residents faced loss of life and massive displacement due to severe flooding and storm surges from Hurricane Florence. Residents must also grapple with the dispersal of coal ash into waterways along with waste from vast industrial hog farms.
Dillen said that serious immediate action from our elected leaders can reduce the threats we face from extreme weather.
“It’s not too late to act to prevent more warming and even more frequent and forceful hurricanes. We have the tools today to slash carbon pollution. We just need the political will.”
Earthjustice has filed more than 110 lawsuits to defend environmental safeguards that have been attacked by the Trump administration.