In a recent NBC article by Alicia Victoria Lozano, the flooding in California is examined through the lens of the people it has been affecting most – marginalized communities. The article begins with a story of a California citizen who drove through the floods that caused cars to float down roads and waves to crash into homes and neighborhoods. He describes the fear and panic as he attempted to get his family to safety. Flooding like this in California has become far too common. 

Brett Sanders, a UCI professor and Blum Center researcher, and Richard Matthew, UCI Blum Center director and researcher, were interviewed on the matter, explaining who is vulnerable as the rates of flood damage soar across the state. Highlighted in the article was a high-resolution flood modeling platform “that can assess risk every 10 feet across the 2,700-square-mile expanse of the greater Los Angeles basin,” work that was co-authored by Sanders and Matthew along with a team of collaborators. This new platform was described within Nature Sustainability, a peer reviewed scientific journal, and is able to be applied to the entire state of California. 

Matthew noted that so many efforts to protect cities from flooding have happened on the coastline where the wealthier citizens tend to live. He said that these citizens usually have insurance and are typically able to build back up better than ever following any floods, but communities with lower incomes and poorer residents often do not have this choice and are overlooked when it comes to plans and preparation for flooding. 

The article goes on to explain the efforts thus far to change this disproportionate assistance given to only some of our citizens. It ends with more stories of those who have been affected by flooding and what the future looks like to them.

If you are interested in reading the full article, please click here