FINDLAY, Ohio -- When FEMA community relations specialists discovered there were un-served Japanese workers in Ohio they went into overdrive.
As part of their outreach to churches in the disaster area, the FEMA representatives discovered that there are about 400 Japanese-speaking workers in the Findlay, Ohio, area who knew little about FEMA or disaster assistance.
FEMA launched a search for a translator who could help establish a dialog with this community. Their search led them to a Japanese professor at the University of Findlay, Dr. Fumiko Harada. In addition to being a special assistant to the university president, Harada acts as a private consultant and liaison to the local Japanese community.
Using Harada as translator, the community relations unit set up a meeting at Concordia Lutheran Church. Twenty Japanese nationals whose spouses are employed at local companies attended. The organizers had two goals for the meeting:
- Identify those who had suffered damage from the recent floods and help them register; and
- Work with the women at the meeting to have them serve as liaisons to the Japanese community in the affected areas.
The meeting was a complete success. That day Harada helped three individuals register with FEMA. She also agreed to follow up with others in the Japanese community. Furthermore, the attendees agreed to spread the word to non-English speaking Japanese workers.
FEMA community relations specialists will follow up with Harada to find out if she uncovered any new or unanswered questions or issues.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.