An NPO that supports the independent living of people with disabilities in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward is looking for evacuation measures for people with severe disabilities in preparation for large-scale floods. The welfare evacuation shelters designated by the ward are limited to one companion, making it difficult for people with disabilities who need multiple hands to assist. However, even if you try to evacuate outside the ward with a helper or family before a typhoon hits, there are problems associated with traveling long distances.
Legislation is expected to be passed in the current parliamentary session to support persons with disabilities to obtain the same information they need in their daily lives and during disasters as able-bodied persons, with the aim of eliminating disparities. Issues have been raised regarding the acquisition of information by persons with disabilities, such as the fact that subtitles and sign language interpreters are sometimes not provided for disaster news.
In order to make it easier for people with disabilities to obtain information, issues have been pointed out, such as the difficulty of people with visual or hearing impairments to quickly grasp the occurrence of disasters, and the difficulty of people with intellectual disabilities to understand information displays in public facilities.
The NET119 Emergency Report System for people with hearing and speaking disabilities has been introduced in some fire departments in the central Japan prefecture of Niigata. It enables people to make emergency reports via the internet using smartphones or other devices and their location information is instantly sent to fire stations, leading to quick dispatches.
Disabled people accounted for 24.6 percent of total “disaster-related deaths” in the northeastern prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, far above their 7 percent representation among the population as a whole estimated by the health ministry.
Around 60 percent of local government buildings across Japan were not equipped with emergency power supplies lasting 72 hours, a crucial time frame in saving human lives during times of disaster, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Thursday.