Deaf couple to cycle in a earthquake-stricken area of Miyagi Prefecture

Hayase Kentaro (right) and
his wife, Kumi ready for cycling.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/)
 September 11, 2014

A Deaf couple will participate in the bicycle event on September 14, which the cyclists will run through the northeastern area hit by the great earthquake in 2011. The couple want to  make more people aware of existence of persons with disabilities who are without accessibility to disaster radio, etc. at the time of a disaster.

Hayase Kentaro (早瀬憲太郎), 41 and his wife Kumi (久美), 39, are continuing the practice that they cycle up and down on ten or more hills for about one hour from their home in Yokohama-shi, before participating in "Le Tour de Tohoku" at Ishimaki-shi, Miyagi Prefecture.

Many persons with disabilities had fallen victim after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. When the disability organization, "The Japanese Disability Forum" estimated based on statistics of Government and self-governing bodies, the mortality rate of the persons with disabilities was about twice persons without disabilities.

In Miyagi Prefecture apparently there were some persons with a mobility disorder swallowed up by tsunami, followed by Deaf persons unable to hear disaster radio and not taking evacuation.

Kentaro met Deaf persons and interpreters when he visited the Prefecture at work one week before the earthquake disaster, some of whom lost life.

On the day when the earthquake disaster occurred, Kentaro had a check-up in the dental clinic near his home. It was an unreasonable experience. There was seemingly an audio evacuation directive then. When he pulled up towel that covered his eyes, he found himself left alone. Although he got angry, he realized, "The people don't know how to communicate with a Deaf patient effectively at a time of disaster as they usually don't associate with persons with disabilities."

When the earthquake disaster occurred, some persons who usually knew Deaf neighbors helped them by telling that tsunami came, and the Deaf neighbors were able to escape safely.

Kentaro says, "It is important that we make people around us notice about "the existence different from themselves" in order to save more lives."


Japanese source:
http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG956J6DG95ULOB01P.html

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