Q. I am doing the sign language volunteer. I worry about whether the Deaf are isolated in the refuge.
A. Spoken or audio information is obtained at a disaster time which is not accessible to the Deaf and there is a difficulty for them.
Actually vital information failed to reach the Deaf in the refuge after the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck the Kobe area in 1995; they were unable to get the blanket and the rice ball according to the Osaka Society of the Deaf.
There must be a lot of information on a tsunami, distributed goods, the situation of the nuclear plant crisis, etc. that the Deaf need to know soon this time, too.
The statistics of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (As of March, 2009) on the number of Deaf carriers with the disability card, there are about 5,100 in Iwate Prefecture, about 6,100 in Miyagi Prefecture, and about 7,700 in Fukushima Prefecture.
The Japanese Federation of the Deaf has been offered help from many people, "I want to help them". The JFD officials commented, "when the action base is established once somewhere in the locale, we will recruit the sign language volunteers".