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New Report: Are We Ready for a Disaster? Recommendations for Improving Disaster Preparation of Limited English Proficient Communities

Thursday, July 01, 2010

  • Organization: Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC)

Full Report: www.trpi.org/PDFs/disaster_10.pdf

Press Coverage: abclocal.go.com/kabc/video

Los Angeles – A new report released by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) shows that despite a significant population boom in Los Angeles County’s Asian Americans and Latinos over the past ten years, city and county agencies lack sufficient resources to provide effective disaster preparedness information to Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations. The report entitled, Are We All Ready for Disaster?: Recommendations for Improving Disaster Preparation of Limited English Proficient Communities shows that limited English proficient communities could face greater vulnerability relative to the general population should a major disaster occur.
The report examines the current capacity of municipalities with a large percentage of limited English Proficient communities in Los Angeles County to reach out before, during, and after a natural or man-made disaster.
The risk of a natural or man-made disaster in Southern California is considerable. Wildfires, earthquakes, and landslides have ravaged area communities in recent decades, and experts predict a large-scale disaster is likely to strike Southern California within the next thirty years. “Despite this situation, city and county agencies lack the necessary resources to hire bilingual first response personnel and provide written materials on disaster preparedness in languages that reflect the needs of Los Angeles County’s diverse population,” said Stewart Kwoh, President and Executive Director of APALC.
One of the recommendations in the report is the reallocation and earmarking of state funds for the purpose of preparing and responding to LEP communities. “Reallocating and earmarking funds stands to increase the capacity of government agencies to provide emergency disaster services to LEP communities,” said Dr. Harry Pachon, President of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute. The report recommends earmarking funds to establish an electronic clearinghouse of essential printed materials in a variety of languages; the distribution of low-cost disaster kits to low-income LEP families; increased public-private partnerships for multi-lingual outreach; and the development of systematic plans to reach out to LEP communities in cities whose LEP population exceeds 25%

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