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Your Environment. Your Health.

EJ and Natural Disasters Town Hall: Gulf Coast Region

Environmental Justice and Natural Disasters/COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Meeting: Gulf Coast Region

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. EST / 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. CST
Virtual Event

Versión en Español de esta página

Phiên bản Tiếng Việt của trang này

The Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) EJ and Natural Disaster Subcommittee is hosting three virtual Regional Town Hall Meetings in early 2021.

The second two-hour virtual Town Hall Meeting will focus on the Gulf Coast Region on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A three-hour disaster response training will also be offered to community members, volunteers, and other stakeholders who are interested at a later date.


  • Impacts of hurricanes and major floods amidst COVID-19 on overburdened, underserved communities


The purpose of this Town Hall Meeting is to gain a better understanding of how natural disasters and COVID-19 impact minority, low-income, overburdened, and underserved communities, and how the federal government can better provide support to these communities to prepare and respond to their needs before, during, and after natural disasters.


The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina demonstrated how a natural disaster, in this case a hurricane and subsequent flooding, disproportionately impacts low-income, minority, overwhelmed, and underserved communities. Hurricane Katrina destroyed homes, limited access to clean water, and raised serious health concerns. Many communities are still seeing the impacts of the hurricane, especially as the Gulf Coast continues to be impacted by many natural disasters. There is no question that the frequency and the intensity of storms is increasing, and low-income, minority, overburdened, and underserved communities are suffering from repeated trauma caused by natural disasters. Ways to prepare for, respond to, and recover from these disasters will be further impacted by the challenges of COVID-19.

Presenters will discuss how EJ communities have been impacted by the hurricanes, flooding, and COVID-19, and how COVID-19 has affected the preparedness and response to these disasters.

Participants will also engage in a discussion on the impacts of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, and COVID-19, on communities, and how the federal government can better support these communities.

Desired Outcomes

To gather lessons learned and best practices from on the ground voices, as well as identify action steps which the federal government can work on to better assist overburdened and underserved communities. To identify concrete action items, such as specific projects, that the Federal EJ IWG can work on to meet the EJ needs of these communities.


Virtual Meeting Platform

This meeting will be held on ZoomGov. Please check to make sure you have the latest version of Zoom installed on your computer or mobile device.

Closed captioning in English will be provided in the Town Hall general session.


Click here to register for the Gulf Coast Region Town Hall

Space is limited for this event and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will close when capacity is reached. The Zoom link will be sent to you once we receive your registration, assuming space is available.

If you would like to submit a comment to include in the notes for this meeting, please send your comments to with the subject line “EJ and Natural Disaster Town Hall.” As a reminder, we have one more Town Hall Meeting coming up in the near future, focused on the West and Southwest Coast (Date TBD). More information about this meeting will be posted soon, so please check back to this website.

Simultaneous Interpretation Available

We will have simultaneous interpretation (English, Spanish, Vietnamese) available during the Town Hall.

Disaster Preparedness and Response Training Event

Monday, March 8, 2021
6:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST / 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. CST
Training Registration
Target Audience: Community members, grassroots organizations, local and state governments, and volunteers

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) will host a virtual disaster response training as part of the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) EJ and Natural Disasters Subcommittee Town Hall Meetings.

The training will be conducted by WTP grantees and aims to provide a general awareness about how to safely respond to disasters. Participants will learn more about preparedness, mental health resilience, and response as it relates to hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters or public health emergencies.

Space is limited for this event and is on a first-come, first-served basis. This is a free event; however, registration will close when capacity is reached. The Zoom link will be sent to you once we receive your registration, assuming space is available.

This event will be primarily in English; however, simultaneous interpretation will be available during the general session.

Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations Requests

Individuals with disabilities who need accommodation to participate in these events should contact Kerri Voelker: or 919-794-4710. TTY users should contact the Federal TTY Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Requests should be made at least 5 business days in advance of the event.


If you have question about the content of the Town Hall meeting, please contact Joy Lee Pearson at or 202-715-3851. Logistical questions should be directed to Kerri Voelker at or 919-794-4710.

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