Kumamoto earthquake: Deaf group visits shelter to help

April 19, 2016
Matsunaga (left) and staff put up 
a board in a shelter, appealing 
support to a Deaf person.

A series of earthquakes have occurred in Japan's southern island since April 14; Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. A more powerful earthquake has rocked the southern Japanese city of Kumamoto in the middle of the night, a day after an earlier tremor killed nine people.

The Prefecture Welfare Association of the Deaf (membership: 365) and Prefecture Interpreting Issues Study Group bot located in Kumamoto-shi started activities responding the various problems in order to support the Deaf persons who suffered from Kumamoto earthquakes, such as visiting a shelter for interpreting, checking a home where a Deaf person lives, etc.

Matsunaga Akira, 78, the director of the Association, and other five people concerned visited six shelters including a gymnasium and looked for any Deaf person who evacuated, holding a writing board up in which a sentence, "Is there any Deaf person?" was written, on April 15 -17.

They also sent a letter to the Prefecture asking for the dispatch of interpreters, and to request all the evacuation facilities managers to provide a writing board for communication, text information and others.

The Association says they are afraid that there are many Deaf persons don't go to a shelter, but remain at home partly damaged by the disaster or in their car with their family or stay at friend's home. 

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