The Obama administration has issued new guidance aimed at making sure emergency response programs don't discriminate against minorities.

The Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development and Homeland Security issued a joint guidance document that includes a series of recommendations to help any entities that receive federal funding, including state and local emergency management agencies and law enforcement, comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

That title prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs or activities.

The guidance was issued in the wake of catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, a state still reeling from heightened racial tensions after a police killing of a black man inspired sometimes violent protests in Baton Rouge.

It states that images of African-Americans stranded on roofs in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina "exposed significant inequalities in access to emergency response and recovery efforts" that should be remediated through better implementation of federal law.

"While emergencies and disasters affect all people, the ability of communities of color to access critical recovery programs, activities and services often has been hampered," the directive said.

The guidance included a reminder that federal assistance programs must provide resources equally to all who are affected by a natural disaster regardless of race, color, national origin or immigration status. "A person's immigration status generally does not prevent access to critical emergency related information and resources," it said.

The federal agencies also recommended wide distribution of emergency-related services and nondiscrimination rights information in multiple languages, while advocating for programs to increase community awareness and involvement in disaster preparation.

"In times of emergency, the law requires that federal funding recipients provide equal services to all people and all communities," said Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in a press release.

"This guidance will help ensure that individuals in need of assistance are not discriminated against during future hurricanes, wildfires and other catastrophic events."