November 10, 2011
YANO Koji (55), vice president of the Japanese Association of Deaf Social Workers, has engaged in disaster victim support of the Great East Japan Earthquake. He explains, "The stricken areas have so few people who sign or take a note that the Deaf disaster victims have been forced to experience inconvenience. Long-term assisted living is necessary for them."
In order to investigate the situation of the Deaf suffering the calamity and their living after the earthquake, Koji and other supporting groups interviewed 125 individuals in 11 cities and 9 towns in Miyagi Prefecture from April through June.
About the mental condition, it became clear that 28 persons had amnesia, earthquake drunkenness, and insomnia temporarily, etc. Moreover, eight persons answered that they lost the job.
When Koji visited a certain shelter, a Deaf evacuee continued signing to him for 2 hours about the occurrence of the earthquake and tsunami. Koji says, "While hearing persons discuss what they have experienced immediately, the Deaf cannot, so they feel very unstable and anxious."
About the situation at the time of suffering the calamity, some Deaf persons also answered that they were unaware of the tsunami warning since disaster radio was no accessible to them, even though they knew the earthquake hit immediately."
There is also a case which Deaf individuals cannot get along in a new community well even after they move into a makeshift house. Koji says, "Deaf people may be misunderstood easily. I would like concerned persons to know the actual condition of these Deaf disaster victims."