When a crisis or a major humanitarian event occurs, timing is everything. The ability to respond to urgent and vital needs quickly can help save lives. However, language is often the forgotten link at this initial stage of crisis response and communication fails because aid workers and affected populations don’t always speak the same language.
Crisis Response after Hurricane Matthew
The destruction that followed Hurricane Matthew which hit Haiti in October 2016 left thousands of people in urgent need of emergency assistance. Most hospitals were unfit to use, roofs from schools and houses were blown away, and thousands of people were left with no food or shelter. As soon as the news was received, aid agencies mobilized their teams in Haiti to assess the situation on the ground and to help those affected. While our aid partners were mobilizing their responses, Translators without Borders set about assembling 50 French and Haitian Creole rapid response translators to ensure that language barriers were not going to impede vital relief efforts.
The rapid response teams (RRT) worked non-stop translating vital content such as geographic mapping of the affected areas and cholera prevention messages. This visual guide gives a snapshot of how TWB responded to the crisis.
Click here to apply to be a volunteer with the TWB Rapid Response translation teams
By Caterina Marcellini, Translators without Borders Communications Officer