Deaf community outraged over Hurricane Irma interpreter

Fears of 'Humanitarian Crisis' in Florida Keys as 5 Are Killed and 5.8 Million Remain Without Power After Irma

Fears of 'Humanitarian Crisis' in Florida Keys as 5 Are Killed and 5.8 Million Remain Without Power After Irma

As Hurricane Irma was advancing on Florida, this was the message deaf residents of Manatee County received regarding a mandatory evacuation: "Help you at that time to use bear big". reported late Friday that Marshall Greene, a lifeguard in Manatee County, Fla., was used as the interpreter during a county press conference as Irma approached the state. "To watch that, knowing I could provide a qualified, certified interpreter". But because he has a deaf brother, either Greene - or some county official - believed that that was a strong enough credential to stick him next to a podium and task him with keeping the area's deaf community abreast of the devastating storm's movements, and what they should be doing to protect themselves.

Instead of crucial emergency information, Greene's gestures made no sense and conveyed words like "pizza", "monster", and 'bear'.

"He can't expect to communicate something he doesn't know", his father said.

She told WFLA: 'It was horribly unnerving for me.

"I knew something went horribly wrong", VisCom owner Charlene McCarthy told WFLA Tampa, adding that she was never called about sending someone to do the job.

Social media users were outraged, writing that the bogus interpreter posed a "danger" to society. "I was totally shocked", Mr Wagner said.

"Who is this person you are using as a sign language interpreter? This person is not qualified!" Maggie Gregory wrote: "What a disservice to the deaf community at such a critical time".

"Comments like "give the guy a break, he's trying" or "what other choice do they have?" "I've been in his position and it is frightening..."

Greene also kept turning to look at the speaker, which is another telltale sign of an unqualified interpreter.

Members of the local deaf community have demanded an apology from Manatee County, saying the error was unsafe and put lives at risk.

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