When police with megaphones rolled through Carol Lazorisak’s Oakwood Beach neighborhood in the hours before the hurricane thrust ashore, she did not hear their announcement about evacuation help. In the days after the surge ripped her Tarlton Street home off its foundation, filled it with water to a depth of 5 feet and tossed her shed nearly a block away, she joined the thousands of other dazed victims at Miller Field in New Dorp, seeking some answers and a measure of comfort.
But for Ms. Lazorisak, who has been deaf since birth, walking through the bustling relief center was like being in a movie on silent. There were no signs providing information for the deaf or directing people to translation services. She left feeling more isolated than ever.
“I am extremely frustrated because of the lack of communication, the lack of help, the lack of information. I was left lost and in the dark for the first two weeks after Sandy destroyed my home,” said Ms. Lazorisak, as her friend Marybeth Imsho translated from American Sign Language — a service she has provided during virtually every face-to-face meeting with FEMA or city agencies, and at the borough president’s town hall meeting last month — where no interpreter was provided for nearly a dozen deaf audience members. “My home is going to be demolished by the city in the next week and I need information.”