Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oil-Weary Gulf Sees Impact on Mental Health


Tens of thousands of fishery jobs are in jeopardy as the worst oil spill disaster continues to unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. Vietnamese men and women in Louisiana hold a significant amount of those jobs, and the media has failed to uncover their enormous plight. It is estimated that nearly one-half of fishery jobs in Louisiana are held by Vietnamese Americans. They are currently facing, out of all Americans impacted by the oil spill, the greatest obstacles to cope with the disaster.

Language barriers, lack of accessible information, and other issues have barred many Vietnamese fishermen from being included in the cleanup efforts and other federal assistance initiatives.

The challenge for Vietnamese fishermen in the region is extra difficult, and Voice of Vietnamese Americans is urging for greater attention to be paid on Vietnamese workers in this time of crisis. With no access to commercial fisheries to do their job, each day is another battle for them and their families as they continue to lose money – and hope. Vietnamese fishermen have contributed so much, culturally and economically, to American fishery along the Gulf Coast for over the past two decades, and they deserve equal and swift access to all the assistance that is available.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans and its members are urging for immediate inclusion of Vietnamese fishermen in all compensation efforts and assistance by the federal government. Additionally, efforts by BP to provide temporary jobs must be immediately improved to adequately include Vietnamese fishermen who are searching for another source of income.

Our nation is resilient and will overcome this major environmental disaster. But we must make certain all fishermen are included in the recovery efforts. Until the Gulf of Mexico is cleared and until all fishermen can set sail again, let us continue to spread national awareness about the impacted fishermen along the Gulf Coast. Let their voices be heard.

Voice of Vietnamese Americans


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