Latino communities support one another in Hurricane Laura aftermath
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In a neighborhood off of McNeese Street and HWY 14, a majority of the people speak Spanish, but communicating in English can be a big challenge for those in need of help.
Maria Corites, 34, started working as a babysitter after she came back from Houston and saw her trailer damaged. Her daughter Cady, 13, helped translate her reaction.
“She says we came back and everything was a whole mess and she feels bad," Cady said.
Cady is her mother’s strength, especially at this time when many residents in Southwest Louisiana need hurricane relief assistance.
Most of Maria’s neighbors don’t speak English, which can be difficult for those trying to find resources.
“This community and these people out here just trying to patch this stuff up,” Darlene Ryan said. “It’s just a wreck.”
Ryan’s lived in the neighborhood for 25 years, and although she applied for FEMA, she said she worries for those who can’t get support.
Nikki Gaskins, FEMA media relations specialist, said their goal is to help everybody.
“We don’t want people to think that because English is a dominant language that they’re not gonna be able to get help, "Gaskins said. "So if someone goes through disaster recovery center and English is not their first language, we guarantee there’s gonna be someone there to assist you.”
Petronel Martinez drove from Houston to set up her taco stand so she can feed workers from all over the country, such as Ricardo Avila, who came from Minnesota to help with the restoration.
“He’s coming every day," Martinez said with a smile to Avila.
Latin grocery store owner Luis Vargas said he supports the Lake Charles community, regardless of language.
“Stay strong," Vargas said. "We’re trying to help each other and that’s why we are here, to help each other. If they need anything, then we are here to help them.”
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