Claims to BP Blocked Due to Language Barrier

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BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill is covering beaches, drowning birds and putting a serious damper on tourism all across the United States’ Gulf Coast. But it’s not just an environmental tragedy, it’s also a human tragedy. Along the coast, fishing and shrimping were a way of life, and the people who depended on the ocean for their livelihood are suddenly out of work.

BP is providing financial support to people who lost fishing industry jobs because of the spill. However, some fishing communities, such as Bayou La Batre, Alabama, are mostly populated by immigrants, and many of these immigrants don’t speak English, or don’t speak it very well. Can you imagine having to struggle to get help in a language you don’t fully understand?

Dr. Thang Nguyen, Executive Director of Boat People SOS, explained the situation to local Fox News affiliate

“Their biggest concern is livelihood, jobs. They need an income, they need to pay a mortgage on their home, boats, they have to pay utilities and rent and for their children to go to school and now its they don’t know it a total uncertain future.”

Local resident Kimchi Thai told that:

“It’s been extremely difficult. Because of the language barriers we have been unable to convey to BP our issues, and some of the BP requirement is so difficult for us to get through some of the red tapes.”

Many of Vietnamese people in Fort Batre never got a chance to learn to read and write in their native language, either, making the situation even more difficult. Fortunately, Boat People SOS is providing translation services to help people with their claims.