A national weather-centric media service featured the International Institute of Buffalo’s efforts to help New Americans adequately prepare for Western New York’s winters. AccuWeather featured Executive Director Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, who emphasized the importance of access to lifesaving information, including for those who may not speak English.
“The fact of Buffalo in the winter is the snow, so just to tell someone that it’s going to snow and to make sure to dress warm or be careful outside, what does that mean? Going out to get food because you haven’t stocked up could prove deadly for you,” said Rizzo-Choi.
AccuWeather also highlighted our expanded winter weather preparedness instructions, now available in 13 languages, suggesting viewers share them with local businesses, organizations, and social service outlets to assist those experiencing their first winter season. AccuWeather recapped last year’s historic winter blizzard that dumped more than 50 inches of snow and took the lives of 30 people, two of whom were non-English language speakers.
“I knew one was a Congolese refugee, and, in that instance, he had left his house to go get food for folks in his building because they didn’t have enough, and they had gone a few days,” said Rizzo-Choi. “And he got disoriented in the snow and fell down. It’s just terrible and traumatic, and I don’t want to see that happening.”
The Washington Post interviewed Jennifer Rizzo-Choi about the December 2022 blizzard that paralyzed Western New York and the death of the 26-year-old Congolese refugee Abdul Sharifu. Click here to read that piece.