Memphis Translators a Big Help at Flood Shelters

More than 500 Memphians are seeking refuge at one of the 5 local flood shelters.
Many of the families who lost everything live at Memphis Mobile City off Highway 51 near Watkins.

Adding to the already difficult situation, many of those displaced only speak Spanish. That’s where Ivette Baldizun comes in.

She says, “There were 2 different parks that were hit and they're pretty much under water right now. They were like 90 percent Hispanic.”

Baldizun, who works for Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, is taking the lead for the EMA and Shelby County, working as a translator for those who can’t communicate with emergency crews or shelter staff.

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The Spanish speaking evacuees were taken to Hope Presbyterian and Cummings Street Baptist Church, where Baldizun says they have dozens of bilingual volunteers lending a helping hand.

“If it wasn't for the interpreters then they would not be able to communicate what it is that they need,” said Baldizun. “The interpreters have been the gap that has come together between the English speaking people and the Hispanic community.”

The evacuees are thankful the EMA and Shelby County Government considered the language variable as they begin the process of piecing their lives back together.

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