Health agencies across the state working to better serve the Latino population during emergenciess

(10/11/12)  The state’s growing Latino population is placing additional needs on  community services. Twenty five people from North Carolina are in Mexico this week to participate in the Center for International Understanding. Farmers in Jackson County and many of the other agriculture based counties in the state find their farming operations in jeopardy during disasters when Latino workers are also victims of the disaster. For example when the tornado’s in the Spring of 2011 tore through sections of Wake county, health departments struggled to find ways to communicate health concerns with to Hispanics.  In Jackson County and other counties with significant farming operations, the lack of adequate sanitation facilities, moving from location to location to follow the crop harvest, little flexibility in work hours and lack of private tranportation, and limited communiucations skills. This week at the Sylva Rotary Club meeting, Nathan Dollar from the Vecinos Farm Worker Health Program defined many of this agencies programs which often operate late at night in order to accommodate the workers who normally return to tjheir native country after the harvest season,  normally concluding with the harvest of Christmas trees. Nathan worked tirelessly as a translator atthe NC MOM Free Dental Clinic, and gave information about how this health program is supporting the farm workers in our area.