FEMA Speaks Multiple Languages

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Release date: 
September 21, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. – Hurricane Isaac survivors in Louisiana’s diverse communities are the focus of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) effort to connect with survivors who otherwise may miss important recovery information.

FEMA’s multilingual Community Relations specialists are canvassing Louisiana neighborhoods to provide information to ethnic communities hit by the storm. Armed with informative materials in English, French, Creole, Vietnamese, Greek, Korean and Cambodian, the FEMA teams are providing survivors with valuable information about registering with FEMA and, if eligible, getting local, state and federal assistance. Information in Braille also is provided for those who are blind or have low vision.

“Our goal during a disaster recovery effort of this magnitude is to get the message out about the many ways FEMA may help affected homeowners, renters and businesses,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Hall. “That means communicating effectively with everyone who needs assistance, regardless of their language or other needs.”

Multilingual specialists also maintain contact with media outlets whose audience consists mainly of non-English-speaking readers, listeners or viewers.

FEMA has translated its English-language booklet, “Your Guide to Disaster Assistance Programs,” into several languages. This handout provides more in-depth information to help disaster assistance applicants understand eligibility for federal programs. These booklets are being distributed by FEMA specialists in the field and at nearly 30 Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the designated Louisiana parishes.

Multilingual telephone operators are available to help non-English-speaking survivors register for disaster aid and to get their questions answered. After dialing FEMA’s registration/helpline, 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585, callers should choose Option 3. FEMA can provide translation/interpretation services in 250 languages. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services may call 1-800-621-3362.

Groups, associations and businesses that have non-English-speaking members who sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Isaac and who want to know more about federal and state disaster assistance may contact FEMA’s Speakers Bureau in Baton Rouge at 1-225-388-4797. The Speakers Bureau is available to speak to groups of all types and sizes, and can provide presentations in Spanish, French, Creole and Vietnamese. Sign language interpreters also are available.

Survivors with uninsured or underinsured damages may register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone at m.fema.gov. Applicants may also call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.  Those who use 711 Relay or Video Relay Services, call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.gohsep.la.gov. You can follow FEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA. Also visit our blog at www.fema.gov/blog.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.  Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/femaregion6, the R6 Hurricane Preparedness website at www.fema.gov/about/regions/regionvi/updates.shtm and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov.

Last Updated: 
September 22, 2012 - 10:35
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