Hurricanes Harvey and Irma not only devastated thousands of lives and destroyed billions of dollars’ worth of property, they may also have done long-term damage to the competitiveness of two of America’s most economically important states — Texas and Florida.
Insurance analyst firm AIR Worldwide estimated that losses from Irma in the U.S. would range from $25 billion to $35 billion, with claims in the Caribbean adding another $7 billion to $15 billion. Of the 10 costliest hurricanes in history, seven were those that slammed into Florida. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the state has “accounted for 13 percent of all U.S. insured catastrophe losses from 1986 to 2015: $68.6 billion out of $515.4 billion.
Officials in Manatee County, Florida are under fire after an interpreter for the deaf warned about pizza and monsters during an emergency briefing related to Hurricane Irma. Florida resident Marshall Greene is not fluent in American Sign Language, but that apparently didn’t disqualify him from translating two Sept. 8 news conferences about Hurricane Irma.
“We just need you to be safe,” Robin DiSabatino of the Board of County Commissioners in Manatee County said at the Sept. 8 briefing. She urged those in low-lying areas and flood zones to seek higher ground and consider staying at shelters.
But for residents who were deaf or hard of hearing, the message was quite different: “Pizza,” the interpreter appeared to sign. Then, “Bear monster.”
The county typically uses interpreters from VisCom, a professional sign language interpreting service. VisCom owner Charlene McCarthy told local media she was not contacted about providing services for the press conference and that Greene was apparently not fluent in American Sign Language.
Watch the incredibly uncomfortable news briefing–with subtitled translation, including random numbers, misspellings, a toy stress pig, and “gesticulation”–below.
The Daily Moth, a deaf news agency that delivers videos using ASL, reported on the video, criticizing officials for not using a certified interpreter.