Disaster relief workers
Hurricane Matthew disaster relief. (Photo credit: ABC.net.au)

[en Español]

When natural disasters strike, low-income, Latino communities are often hit hardest. They tend to be located in vulnerable areas and it’s harder for low-income people to prepare for and recover from storms. And they don’t always get the disaster relief they need.

Jones: “Latino populations are large, family-oriented, and expecting them to evacuate their homes and communities with their risk of being separated, it poses a big problem. Also, we need to keep in mind that undocumented individuals or those of illegal status will not seek assistance in fear of being exposed.”

Emily Jones is the Public Information Officer for Robeson County, North Carolina. During Hurricane Matthew last year, she wanted to make sure Latino residents got assistance, even if English was their second language.

Jones: “If I had a document on how to recover from the storm, or how to apply for FEMA, I was doing the English version and the Spanish version for that to make sure that they understood what the processes are and what to do at the time.”

It’s an approach that will be even more critical as the U.S. Latino population grows and climate change brings stronger and more dangerous storms.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...