Academic investigation on disaster information for the Deaf

It rained heavily in torrents, which Japanese people call "Guerrilla downpour," that came one after another in the whole country this summer.

The Japan Society for Disaster Information Studies will study concerning how the communication was taken in the emergency situation in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture.

The Society's investigation committee on the heavy rain conducted the investigation in Kanazawa City on November 25-27, 2008, followed by the last one on October. This time, the method of communication for the vulnerable people will be verified through the investigation for the Deaf and hard of hearing persons.

The information offered to the local residents on an emergency evacuation area or route is transmitted through TV, a disaster prevention administrative wireless, and the check by the fire fighting group, etc. The Deaf and hard of hearing persons have no access to any of such, unaware of the looming crisis.

Even though the text message is sent to the Deaf as a method of the visual communication, some of them gets puzzled with unfamiliar written words such as "Evacuation Order." It is necessary to tell them plainly with words easily understood.

According to an expert of the Society, as Asano River in Kanazawa City flooded the area due to the downpour disaster at the end of July, city officials sent the document to the Deaf and hard of hearing persons by fax, which was written, "Take shelter to the second floor if water is deep near your house," etc.

The investigation committee plans to verify "whether the communication was appropriately offered or not?" and "was persons with disabilities able to take the evacuation activity?", etc. based on the result of the investigation to the Deaf and hard of hearing persons.

The reports will be put together by next March based on the investigation conducted in Okazai City and Nagoya City in Aichi Prefecture against further disasters.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 25, 2008
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