Report finds increased disaster preparedness outreach needed in immigrant communities
| 08.01.2008 | 06:14:56 | Views: 8751 | ID:
July 28 '08: The Naval Academy's Center for Homeland Defense and Security blog (HSDL) announced a new report released by two immigrant communities-focused think tanks looking at the impacts of disaster preparedness in communities where English is not the primary language. In the press release, the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and the AsianPacific American Legal Center of Southern California wrote that recent disasters in Southern California have shown that "in order to improve disaster awareness among immigrant community members and to help emergency response personnel better serve limited English speaking populations," education and outreach operations must be increased.
Key findings in the report (available for download here) include: lacking disaster preparedness materials in other languages besides English targeting specific communities; shortages of bilingual staffers and volunteers in first response and nonprofits; under-participation with ethnic media outlets to help access communities; concerns that outreach is difficult because community members are worried about possible legal repercussions due to their status in the country.The report cites five policy recommendations for lawmakers in Southern California: "Local disaster service providers and public information officers should evaluate the language needs of preparedness education materials in their service areas; Local providers should ensure simulation exercises incorporate the language needs of (Limited English Populations) LEP communities members. ... State governments should establish working groups with service personnel, nonprofit organizations servicing ethnic communities, and ethnic media on how to better promote preparedness materials; Federal and state governments should create baseline of minimal secondary language resources for diverse jurisdictions; Immigration enforcement should be bifurcated from humanitarian aid." The report is the result of two years' worth of research which focused "groups of Latino residents, one of Mandarin speaking residents and another comprised of Vietnamese speaking residents," the press release reported. Researchers also interviewed 34 members of disaster service providers, nonprofit organizations and ethnic organizations in Southern California." Interviews also were conducted with first responders who helped during the Northridge earthquake (1994), and during Hurricane Katrina. National Blueprint Tags: Communication & Public Information, Citizen & Community.
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