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Learning event on assisting persons who require special consideration in a natural disaster: Iwaki City, Fukushima

On December 20 2017, a learning event titled “Assisting persons who require special consideration in a natural disaster – from the perspective of senior citizens, disabled citizens and children” took place in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. The event was held jointly by Hagukumi-Bosai-Supporters-Iwaki and the Training Center for Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction (GDRR), a partner organization of JEN.

The objective of this workshop was for people involved a natural disaster and their supporters to learn together about assisting persons who require special consideration, and to discuss future measures in Iwaki.

Participants consisted of council members and employees of the city, as well as various individuals with interest and involvement in disaster preparedness. Over 90 people joined the event, reflecting the high interest in the topic.

The first section was a lecture by Dr. Yayoi Kitamura at the Research Institute of the National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities. In addition to organizing a support system, Dr. Kitamura stressed the importance for persons requiring special consideration and their families to prepare beforehand, and to actively share information on daily needs and response to take place when a natural disaster occurs. She also introduced the “evacuation center operation game” for persons requiring special consideration and their supporters to think together how to respond to a natural disaster.

【Everyone was listening carefully.】

The second section was a workshop: participants formed teams and actively discussed how to react at the time of a natural disaster, as persons requiring special consideration or their family members. Potential problems were brought up and solutions were discussed as well.

【Participants with hearing disabilities actively offered opinions with the aid of a sign language interpreter.】

Many of the participants commented that creating a system is not enough for it to work when needed, and daily training and face-to-face relationship building is essential. The event helped build momentum to create an environment in which persons requiring special consideration can feel safe in evacuating at the time of a natural disaster.

December 28, 2017 in Tohoku earthquake |