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Disaster Relief and Mobilization

with Deaf Community:

Lesson From Tohoku Earthquake
on March 11, 2011
Kota Takayama
Gallaudet University
Department of Social Work
Learning Objective:
Participant will
1. Learn Deaf perspective and culture
2. Learn communication issues and networks that
need to be accessed during an emergency
3. Learn the lesson from 3.11 disaster relief
experiences among Japanese Deaf community
4. Plan the next step for professional development
toward the crisis mobilization and intervention
among Deaf community
Japanese Culture?
Collectivism Individualism
Japanese Culture vs. Western Culture
Osterman, Coon & Kemmelmeier (2002)

• Collectivism • Individualism
– Related – Independent
– Belong – Goals
– Duty – Compete
– Harmony – Unique
– Advice – Private self-knowledge
– Context – Direct communication
– Hierarchy
– Group
Japanese have a sense of being first and
foremost responsible to the community
In Japanese collectivism culture,
the broader social context and
cultural norms influence life
satisfaction and social behaviors
Deaf Culture
Does our cultural competency
include Deaf people?
• What do we need to know?
• What do we know about sign languages?
• What are their language/communication
• Over 36 million Deaf and hard of hearing people
in USA
• 40% of the population 65 years old or older have
some type of hearing loss
• Over 90% of deaf children have hearing parents
“Facts about Hearing Loss.” Center for Hearing and Communication.
June 2010
Deaf vs. deaf
 deaf means “loss” of hearing
 Deaf means culture, language,
• “deaf world”.
• Disability is a label attributed suggesting one
needs help, services, rehabilitation, cures,
personal assistance.
• Deaf people are not asking for these
interventions or services.
Oppression and Audism
- Harlan Lane -

• Audism – “The notion that one is superior based on

one’s ablity to hear or behave in the manner of one who
hears.” (Humphries 1977)
• Like racism and sexism, audism insists that inherent
biological factors determine individual traits and capacity
Medical model of hearing loss
 Late deafened
 Hard of hearing
 Situational hearing loss
 Specific etiologies (NF2)

Communications needs vary…again, it’s

not about language!
Natural Disasters
• Earthquakes • Thunderstorms
• Extreme heat • Tornadoes
• Fires • Tsunamis
• Floods • Volcanoes
• Hurricanes • Winter storms or
• Landslides extreme cold

March 11, 2011

2: 46PM
March 11, 2011
The first tsunami
Death rate of persons with disabilities in
the Tohoku earthquake
Iwate, Miyagi, Population # of Death Death rate
All Citizens 1,244,167 12,853 1.03%
Persons with physical 53,928 1,243 2.30%
Persons with 8,362 80 0.96%
intellectual disabilities
Persons with mental 5,286 79 1.44%

(Survey by NHK, 2011)

Death rate of Deaf people in the
Tohoku earthquake
Prefecture Deaf Association # of Death Death rate

Iwate 195 3 1.54%

Miyagi 750 14 1.87%

Fukushima 670 0 0%

(Survey by Japanese Federation of the Deaf, 2011)

• How do we ensure effective
• How do we build a network with deaf
Resources in DC area?
• National Association of the Deaf
• Gallaudet University
• ASL interpreter agencies

• Red Cross?