Deaf Leadership in International Policy
>>[VOICEOVER]: Deaf Leadership in International Disaster Policy, a virtual panel hosted by the
Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) and Gallaudet University.
Recorded October 29, 2021.
>> AUDREY COOPER: Excellent. Hello, everyone, and welcome. I am Dr. Audrey Cooper. I am a professor,
and also the Program Director for the International Development in MA program at Gallaudet University.
I am a white woman with medium length brown hair, wearing glasses, a brown jacket, and
there is a red brick wall behind me.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Hello.
I am here stationed in Japan at the moment, and I am Dr. Kota Takayama.
And I am an Asian man with short black hair.
I’m wearing a blue blazer.
I think my background is slightly gray.
It should be blue, but it’s slightly gray.
>> AUDREY COOPER: Perfect.
So Kota and I will be the moderators for today’s panel discussion, and I’m really thrilled
that you joined us for the event today.
Thank you so much for your time, and for your interest in this very important topic.
So we are moderators, but there are a host of other people that we want to mention as well.
We actually have two co sponsors for the day’s event.
First of all, the Gallaudet University School of Language, Education, and Culture, and the
Gallaudet University School of Civic Leadership, Business, and Social Change.
And we will introduce the panelists soon, but those panelists are Emmanuel Jacq, who
is with the International Deaf Emergency, and Leyla Craig, from the University of Sydney in Australia.
This event is sponsored by Gallaudet University, but it’s also sponsored by the Global Alliance
for Disaster Resource Acceleration, or GADRA.
And I want to talk a little bit about GADRA.
GADRA was actually launched in July of 2020 by three different disability led organizations:
The World Institute on Disability, the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, and ONG Inclusiva.
The three of them were formed with the goal of working together to disrupt the failed charity model.
The charity model used for disaster relief, and putting disaster resources into the hands
of people who were Deaf and disabled.
So this charity model was to give people aid, and it failed.
So they wanted to establish an organization that would take down this charity model system.
So the purpose of establishing GADRA meant that people who were disability led organizations
would be involved in the decision making process in terms of deciding where those resources
So GADRA was able to then collect those resources, and disability organizations supported that,
so they were able to control their own disaster planning, and their own disaster response.
In December of 2020, Gallaudet University joined GADRA.
We are a part of this organization, and we are in the Founders Circle.
Gallaudet is absolutely honored to be cohosting this event together with GADRA.
If you would like more information about how you can join GADRA, and be a part of their
activities, that information will be put into the chat box.
And next I will turn it over to Kota for some comments about logistics.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Excellent.
So I have four things to cover in terms of logistics.
First, this event has realtime captioning in English.
And in order to access that, you can click on the closed caption button located at the
bottom/middle of your screen.
You can also see the full transcript by clicking on the link that we’ve provided in the chat box.
If there’s any technical issues that you find yourself having, please add a comment in the
chat box, and we will do our best to help support you.
And finally any questions that you have for the panelists, please utilize the Q&A function
rather than the chat.
There’s a Q&A icon at the bottom of your screen.
Please include your questions there.
I’m going to turn it back to Audrey to help cover some of the historical aspects of this panel.
>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you, Kota.
We will introduce our two expert panelists shortly, but first, Kota and I would like
to set the context for the discussion today.
We also want to talk about some key international commitments.
Do you mind going back one slide?
So today’s panel has to do with disability inclusion and disaster risk reduction, which we’ve
referred to as DiDRR.
This is a relatively new concept, if you look at this concept over the last ten years.
Before that if you look back, you know, 50, 60 years, Deaf people were very involved in
setting up policies, and also focusing on the infrastructure to actually be able to
include people with disabilities at all levels.
So that’s the context that contributed to DiDRR.
So I want to read for you the policies this morning, or this evening, sort of depends
on where you are as you’re watching this webinar.
But briefly, if I could speak to 2006, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Then I will also talk about the Sendai framework from 2015.
I will discuss briefly the 2016 charter related to inclusion of people with disabilities,
and humanitarian actions, and then lastly I will speak to 2019, and that is the IASC
guidelines on inclusion of people with disabilities.
So in terms of actions by advocates, they work to set up the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities.
Many of you are familiar with that and familiar with what it looks like.
By 2016, we found that around 165 countries have already ratified the CRPD, and are in
support of the various principles within, and have determined that they will take action.
We also did a global study of various countries, who have set up disability civil rights laws,
and there are around 180 countries that established those disability civil rights laws, and it
sort of depends on how you count it, and how they label it, whether it’s a disability law
or civil rights law.
So when you think about CRPD and other policies, of course there’s no one that’s perfect, and
the crux of this issue has to do with the implementation of the policies, because CRPD
has specific pieces to it but enforcement mechanisms are unclear.
Also how people with disabilities are involved.
They’re largely excluded from any accountability structures.
There’s big amendments to that but again in terms of enforcement, that is an issue, because
it’s not a law, right?
You know, it’s a policy.
We’re trying to convince people to cooperate and to set up the CRPDs.
So what’s important about this in terms of the future, people with disabilities and people
who are Deaf need to be a part of the accountability structure.
And the next slide, please.
This is something that came about in 2015.
In 2015 the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction was formed, and it looked at
the CRPD and thought we have to include people with disabilities.
You know, they have to be a part of the structure.
They have to be a part of making this DiDRR come to fruition.
And it also had an issue.
It was formed in conjunction with the UN.
However, when you think about the priority and what it emphasizes, it talks about the
physical environment and talks about physical access, which is important, but we also have
to recognize the importance of communication access, and of course language is complicated.
You know, over 2,000 languages around the world.
So how do you translate it to make sure that each language and each culture is represented,
especially when you think about including signed languages?
So that’s still actually a work in progress.
And next slide, please.
Then in 2016, in the year 2016, a group got together, those who are involved in the Sendai
framework and others got together to form the charter on inclusion of people with disabilities
in humanitarian action.
And this charter is amazing.
It’s a very important step, because it actually spotlighted the fact that people who have
a disability can be involved in human rights front and center whenever there is a disaster.
And the primary focus of this charter in the past has been people who are with disabilities
as recipients of services, and so it’s been a murky issue, but we’re speaking here to people
leading the services rather than being recipients.
And also if we go back to some of the other policies and how they were established and
implemented, there are some murky issues there.
Then in 2019, the interagency standing committee for inclusion of people with disabilities
in humanitarian action, they established IASC guidelines and inclusion of people with disabilities
in humanitarian action.
Their work progressed, and then led actually to a specific policy or charter, and gave
more information specifically about how to have people participate in this work, how
to involve them in terms of accountability and decision making.
So this was a big step.
This work is progressing still today and again is a compilation of all the historical work
that has been done on policies, to influence DiDRR research.
And we will have Kota speak to that.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: And I’m going to keep this quite brief, because there is not a lot of
research available on the DiDRR focusing on Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.
Only recently do we see some examples of this.
So I’m going to highlight three here.
Most disability data does not disaggregate by disability identity, whether it be Deaf,
DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing.
So the information is quite muddled.
So getting information on what Deaf people need and how much how many Deaf people are
being involved is not clear.
Secondly, much of the research does not center on Deaf people as agents of change.
Historically research identifies Deaf people as recipients of services, and that framework
needs to be changed.
And finally DiDRR research reflects as a social model of disability, and what does that mean?
The social model creates barriers for disabled community.
So what that will essentially mean is clarifying and interpreting what Deaf people’s needs
are and what their strengths are, and that historically has been done in a very weak way.
There is more need for academic research, so that ties us into today’s panel, which
we are thrilled to announce.
Audrey, why don’t you go ahead and kick off the announcements?
>> AUDREY COOPER: I’m going to go ahead and invite Jacq Emmanuel up, so I can do introductions.
I’m going to ask the IS interpreter to turn off their video and then turn it back on,
to change the placements.
I’m honored to introduce Emmanuel Jacq.
He is the founder and executive director for International Deaf Emergency, IDE.
Emmanuel also is a member of a referral group that we briefly mentioned about.
It’s an intra agency steering committee for inclusion of people who work with the disability
community and humanitarian actions.
He also represents the World Federation of the Deaf at the 2015 World Conference on Disaster
Risk Reduction, which was hosted in Sendai.
He has done various presentations at a number of different places and forums, including
the 2016 UN Conference of State Parties in 2016, which was a part of the CRPD’s efforts,
and in 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit.
Emmanuel has a master’s in political science, and thank you for presenting and sharing your
experience with us today.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: Thank you.
I am showing the logo for the International Deaf Emergency organization.
I’ll start with a description.
I am a white middle aged man.
I’m bald with a short mustache and beard.
I’m wearing a medium blue shirt and white background.
And first of all, I just want to say thank you everyone for being here.
And now we can go to the next slide.
I want to talk about why disaster reduction, relief, awareness, all of that is very important.
When we think about the Deaf community and how it’s impacted, I’ll talk about what happened
in Haiti, as well as talking about international law.
This slide in particular shows an earthquake in Haiti.
As the caption shows, this earthquake happened in 2010.
A country in ruins.
During this earthquake or after this earthquake, 200,000 people died, 1.5 million people were
wounded, 2.3 million were displaced, and 400,000 homes were destroyed.
Definitely a disaster.
And now the next slide.
As you can see here, because there were a high number of people impacted, this picture
here actually shows the central part of a refugee camp located in Haiti, in Port au
Prince, and it was near where the hospitals were and where they were able to distribute
food to people.
So when you think about Deaf people in this situation, having no communication, no access
to text messaging, being frustrated in terms of finding out where to get food, where to
get medical care, where to get water, and move to the next slide, please.
So as you can see, this picture here, the red area that’s framed on the slide, that
is an area that shows the refugee camp, compared to the other part of the city.
This is the inclusive refugee camp that’s pictured here.
So that was our first step, when we went to Haiti.
When we saw everything that was going on, we decided to meet and get everyone together
at one place.
So we asked for governments to get people together, people who needed access to resources
of various types.
We wanted to get them together in this inclusive refugee camp, understanding the area behind
it is the larger space.
So they have a mission set up missionaries set up to run hospital services, first aid
services, Red Cross services, and within Gallaudet University, we actually had a collaboration
from Gallaudet as well to help us to set up a central communication, and that is shown
on the next slide.
So this particular slide shows people from Haiti, and there’s one person giving a presentation.
At the top the slide reads Deaf Information Center.
So it was an opportunity for Deaf people to come together, to be able to communicate with
the government, and to know the people that they could contact during this emergency.
We also wanted to find out how many numbers of people were injured.
You know, how many people needed psychological care, how many people were, you know, affected
by the communication issues.
And next slide, please.
In this particular place, of course we wanted to find out those people who were Deaf and
who wanted employment opportunities.
You know, we don’t want them to just be recipients of services.
We want them to be involved in the humanitarian effort.
So there were Deaf people who were involved in cleaning the street, as is pictured here.
So we had about 20 Deaf people who gained employment and who actually work in the housing
units with construction.
We had people at the hospital and were able to find employment opportunities for them.
Specifically there were 20 Deaf women involved in this picture.
So it not only helped them but also helped their families.
The title of this slide, permanent houses building, shows the fact that they were able
to erect homes, so you’ll see a row of houses that have been built and a row that is to
So these homes were given to the Deaf communities, so they then became homeowners for these 20 women.
So the colorful houses on the edge of the slide are for those women.
So it was a program that built about 650 houses and about 150 of those houses were then provided
to the Deaf community, and this is in the city of Port au Prince in Haiti, and also
in the Labek area of Port au Prince.
So it was established to show that the Deaf community can be mainstreamed with the hearing community
but at the same time have access to sign language services.
And the next slide, please.
As you can see pictured here, there were a group of people who over five years who were
involved in this building opportunity, helping with the refugee camps, and helping when there
were emergencies, and you notice that a lot of money was spent doing that, building the
A lot of time was spent engaging the Deaf community, and it was a good effort, but it
can be done better.
You know, if people are focused on preparedness ahead of disasters, of course that’s much
better, to have that to be ready to face a disaster when it occurs.
So with Hurricane Katrina, for example, that happened here in America in 2005.
That was quite a disaster.
A lot of people died during that disaster.
It cost about $125 billion to recover from the disaster, and there was a university who
did a study, Washington University did a study, I believe also St. Louis was involved in that
study, and they talked about preparedness and what needs to happen before a hurricane
hits and if that preparedness had been done, it would have saved lives.
It would have also reduced the cost by about $7 billion.
So that’s a large sum of money.
So what this means is if we invest just one dollar in preparedness planning, then we can
save $17 in terms of what happens after the disaster, so disaster involvement is important.
We talked about that with the people in Haiti and we talked about accessibility for people
So the question comes up, how can we involve people in the community more.
The Deaf community in Haiti needs to be represented well on a local, national, and international level.
That’s so important in order to make this community thrive.
And if we move to our next slide, you’ll see some individuals who are Deaf who are meeting
with a group of other Haitian Deaf people and talking about this topic.
Part two, what can we do in terms of Deaf community building?
And next slide, please.
Go back one slide.
So in terms of making the community stronger, that is done through organizational development.
This shows a picture of Deaf Haitian leaders, you know, with the logo on their shirts, and
large smiles on their faces, because they’re very proud of their involvement.
They’re very proud of becoming leaders and representing the Haitian Deaf community on
the local, national and international levels.
In Haiti, it’s a large island, and they needed support and organizing the local organizations.
There are about 13 Deaf local organizations.
Some of them needed to be reinforced and trained, so that they were up to par.
And those 13 organizations together had a meeting and voted to establish the first National
Association of the Deaf in Haiti for the Deaf community there.
So then they were able to engage with the government on a national level.
And the next step was for them to then become a member of the World Federation for the Deaf,
and they became a member for the first time in history in 2016.
So there are a lot of steps, a lot of progress made for the country of Haiti and the Deaf
And the next slide.
On this slide you see some individuals sitting in one of the local areas listening
to a woman who was talking to them about disaster preparedness and explaining what is involved
in that concept.
The slide is titled associational autonomy, and this autonomy is so important.
You know, the world is a big place, and everyone cannot get help, right?
But if we educate o organizations to help themselves, if we educate them to look for
grants and look for funding, that’s so important, because around the world there are many opportunities
to get grants for people who have disabilities.
But many times people don’t know about that, so this organization, our organization, helped
them to fill out grants and to get grants for the local community there in Haiti, and
the first grant that they received was for disaster preparedness, and about five percent
of that grant went to this.
They also were able to control grant funding or control the amount of grants they got to
focus on women’s rights, to focus on organizing, and so they learned.
They learned to work together, and with those grants, they were able to distribute that
in their own way, without, you know, outside organizations.
They received a total of seven different grants from 2014 to 2021, and those seven grants
totalled over 100,000 U.S. dollars.
So again the focus was on disaster preparedness, women’s rights, accessible public communication,
as well as human rights in the workplace.
So it’s amazing that they were able to get that going on their own, because before that,
people who were disabled were never involved in disaster preparedness or disaster reduction.
So they were able to think about replicating this program in different places around the world.
So part three of the project has to do with international laws, and you’ll see a world
map here, and it talks about you’ll see green around the top of the map and red in certain
places of the map.
The red are the areas that face disasters the most.
Most of those countries are what you can see are what we call developing countries.
So we’re trying to figure out grants to help the people in the pink and red areas of the map.
We want to make sure that we make an impact for those people, and specifically that can
be done by international laws.
And the next slide, please.
So as you’ve noticed, with going to Haiti and seeing what went on there and what the
access was like for people with disabilities, not having electricity, not having beds to
sleep in, not being inclusive in a refugee camp, I wanted to get them to be able to be
a part of the emergency, to come to meetings that were held.
So we talked about the EU emergency policies for people with disabilities in 2014, and
then we realized that there need to be some adjustment in those policies.
So I was a WFD representative at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
I lectured there when we talked about the Sendai framework.
I also was a panelist at the first World Humanitarian Summit and talked about DRR policies and changes
that needed to be made.
And then for example, when the IASC was founded, I worked with them.
I was a member of the reference group on inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian
action, and a panelist at UN COSC 16.
So I’ve done some work in terms of advocating for DRR policies.
And the next slide, please.
So for those of you who are thinking about different ways to participate, that can be done.
If you ask yourself as a Deaf person or as a person with a disability, will I be ready
tomorrow if there is a disaster in my area?
And if you think that, you know, perhaps a flood will come, you won’t know what to do.
Any kind of disaster.
You should reach out to your local organizations or the mayor and see if people with disabilities
are ready or not to start there at the local level and then proceed.
You can go to the state level, the national level, and international level.
I don’t know if you’re aware of the save your lives campaign, but it’s an important question.
Are we ready for a disaster?
We recently founded the DRR, and an expert group there that gives advice to from various
organizations connected with the Deaf, you know, to international organizations, to governments,
and so that’s the next step for us.
And thank you.
The next slide?
I have finished with my presentation.
As you can see it’s globally important to have Deaf led organizations in order to save lives and
reduce costs related to disasters.
Don’t be shy.
I know you all want to help.
I know you can be involved with people in various organizations on various levels.
Thank you so much for your attention.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Leyla, give us one more second before you come on screen.
Thank you so much.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Hi, everyone.
Thank you so much, Emmanuel.
That was a beautiful presentation, and I know your experience in Haiti where you were able
to advocate for the community there and to share policies to support them was so important.
So thank you.
I really appreciate that.
And now Emmanuel, you can turn your camera off.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: And next I would like to introduce our next presenter, Leyla Craig,
and Leyla, if you can turn your camera on.
And for the international interpreter, can you turn your camera off and then back on
Excellent, thank you.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: All right, so now I am honored to introduce Leyla Craig.
It is wonderful to have you join us from Sydney.
Leyla has been working as a disability inclusive disaster risk reduction practitioner.
She’s worked in both local and international projects.
Her focus is on the inclusion and the resilience of people with disabilities, with a particular
attention to advocating for Deaf communities.
Over the last decade, Leyla has served in a number of disaster and emergency service roles.
Those various roles include her working on the design and implementation of the project
on increasing the resiliency of the Deaf community in Australia.
She’s also worked on a variety of organizations, such as the University of New South Wales,
the New South Wales emergency services agency, and with hospitals.
And she’s worked in support of disaster preparedness.
She’s done research there in Australia in relation to the Deaf community and their experience
with disasters, and currently Leyla is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Sydney, hoping
to complete her research soon at the University of Sydney, Australia.
And we are absolutely thrilled to turn it over to Leyla to begin her presentation.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: Hello, everyone.
Thank you so much for inviting me to come and present to you all today.
I’m happy to see you all here.
My name is Leyla Craig.
I’m half Asian, half white.
I identify as a woman with black hair in a bun and I’m wearing a black shirt and I am sitting
in front of wooden blinds.
On the first slide, there is the University of Sydney’s logo, which has an emblem with
a lion in the top part of the logo, and beneath it is a cross, and there’s a graphic that
indicates a book in the center of the cross.
Today I’m going to be presenting about policies involving the UN international policies and
how that affects national and local policies and what this means for the Deaf communities.
Some of the information covered in today’s presentation are from findings through my
research study that focuses on the Deaf communities in disaster risk reduction, DRR.
Next slide, please.
Naoki Kurano, from the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, presented at the last Deaf led
DRR webinar back in September, where he talked about the 2011 earthquake in Japan and the
tsunami that followed.
He mentioned research on the death rates from five different disability groups.
Those groups were physical disabilities, blind/low vision, Deaf and hard of hearing, mental health,
and intellectual disabilities, and out of those five categories, Deaf people experienced
the highest death rates compared to the other groups.
Next slide, please.
So on this slide, you have actually, no can we go back?
Move forward, please.
There is an image here of two people, and it’s to indicate two people signing.
There’s two stick figures with their arms outstretched to indicate sign language.
And then below that is the symbol of sign languages.
So that information that Naoki Kurano shared is of most importance, because the first research
that documented the Deaf community’s disasters was in 2003.
81% of survey respondents were from the U.S., and they experienced fear of not being prepared for
weather emergencies, and the reason why is because there wasn’t enough information disseminated.
Next slide, please.
This slide has an image of what appears to be a female presenting person in the pose
of contemplation in front of a desktop computer.
The text in the white thought bubble says, above it there’s a text that says 18 years
later, and then underneath it, it says this problem still exists worlds wide.
So disasters are still happening.
This is still an ongoing issue with the Deaf communities, and it’s evident in Kurano’s
presentation on Deaf people during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
So time and time again, Deaf people are facing these barriers.
Why is that?
So this slide has three images that have a red circle and a red cross through them.
The first one has the symbol of I to indicate information.
Then there’s a symbol for interpreting or sign language.
And then third there’s an image of a box that has various items in it to indicate like a
medical kit, with medicine, food, and other types of resources in that box.
The problem is not because we cannot hear.
The problem is because the system is a barrier to us.
We don’t have enough information or access to information, or support, like interpreting
services, or services that people would need in the event of a disaster: Shelter, food,
and other basic needs.
Having access to those three things would decrease the risk.
Just like any other population, be it a hearing population or not, if you don’t have access
to information, resources, and services, then of course you face higher risk.
So focusing on getting access to the system is what I’m going to be talking about next.
Now, this slide talks about the international, national, and local policies.
I want to mention that I understand that not all countries face the same challenges and barriers.
Some have created more accessibility in terms of resources, while other countries don’t.
The goal of my presentation is just to provide a general overview of what some typical barriers
are for the Deaf community when they face countries in relation to the political system
Next slide, please.
So on this slide, there’s a map, and the UNCRPD has highlighted the 195 different countries
that have ratified the UNCRPD.
So on an international level, there are 195 countries that have been recognized by the
UN, and as Audrey and Kota have mentioned, the UNCRPD covers the human rights of people
with disabilities in general and in everyday life.
In the UNCRPD, there is a particular article, article 11, which focuses on situations of
risk and humanitarian emergencies.
And what this means is to ensure that people with disabilities are properly protected during
risky situations, be it hurricane, earthquakes, fires, et cetera.
Going back to the UNCRPD, there are a total of 165 countries that have ratified it.
Now, this typically includes general emergencies.
The UN policy focuses specifically on the DRR, and that is using the Sendai framework
of disaster risk reduction from 2015 to 2030.
This framework supports a stronger inclusion of people with disabilities in all DRR planning.
So far 187 countries have adopted the Sendai framework, and strangely enough this is more
than the countries who have ratified the UNCRPD.
However, remember that these UN policies are generally more of a commitment and not mandatory
for the governments to follow and put into actual practice in their countries.
Next slide, please.
Next is the national disability laws and acts.
Both Audrey and Kota mentioned earlier that there are 121 countries that have disability
laws and acts in place.
However, how many of those disability laws and acts cover emergencies?
Next slide, please.
On this slide, there’s an image of three rectangles, and the first text says the UNCRPD/Sendai framework.
The next one says national disability laws and acts.
And at the bottom, it says local government policies.
There are arrows going back and forth between each of those rectangles to indicate that they
are inter-reliant on each other.
The answer to my previous question is that it’s open to interpretation.
There are some laws and acts that are very clear, they’re transparent, while others are
vague or outdated.
Some of those laws and acts support international and local government policies, whereas in
other countries, there are some limitations to whether it’s on the international or national
level, but it does not necessarily tie into the local level needs, while even more have
even less connection.
Next slide, please.
On this slide, there are two yellow arrows pointing towards each other.
The left arrow, it says national government.
The right arrow says local government.
Underneath those arrows are different images of indicating people with different types
There are two people indicating Deaf or signing users.
Beside that there is an image of a blind person with a cane and a guide dog.
Next to that is the international symbol of accessibility.
Next to that is an image of a person with crutches and an amputated right leg.
And then the last one is a female presenting person who is blind and walking with a cane.
One thing that still isn’t clear between many national disability laws and acts and local
government policies is that how people with disabilities are supported on a national and
local level during disasters.
So for example, who is responsible to financially cover access when an emergency arrives?
Is it the local government’s responsibility or the national?
The local government typically argues that there’s not enough funding from the national
government for them to support the local people, and they were not involved in the discussion
when the national government decided to implement these laws, and so they assume that because
it was them that decided these laws, they should be responsible.
Whereas the national government may argue that the local disaster is the responsibility
of the local government, and that also includes disaster management, which also includes covering
So in some countries and not all, we see that this lack of clarity in how people are supposed
to be supporting people with disabilities on both levels.
And many stakeholders are excluded in the process on both the local or national level.
Next slide, please.
Now, governments throughout the world who have signed and supported the national and
international disability and DRR policies, other countries in the world see that as very positive.
They consider those countries progressive.
But in actual practice in country, it’s not as easy to implement.
Why is that?
Well, first, most are focused on increasing access for people with disabilities to emergency information.
That typically is policies centered between the UN agencies, and there’s not enough attention
on the local and national governments.
There’s less attention being given on the ground.
The national governments aren’t familiar with what’s going on on the local level.
Second, there are a lot of hidden costs involved.
That typically includes budgeting money for interpreting services, captioning, accessible
transportation, housing, carers, et cetera.
And many governments don’t often realize how to prioritize cost or access needs.
They don’t consider access a priority for them in the budget planning.
Third, there are cultural factors and attitudes.
Some people with disabilities face a stigma in several countries.
Also a tremendous amount of exclusion in their countries, particularly during a national disaster.
So despite some governments having signed national and international policies supporting
people with disabilities in their country, it doesn’t actually mean they do support,
apply, and practice them in their countries.
Sometimes they do this to make their countries look good from the outside but not actually
providing adequate support.
The level of capacity for some countries to implement disability laws and practices internally vary.
Some countries don’t have the necessary resources that they need to implement the laws and practices.
That could be because of funding issues, timing, or insufficient human resources.
Next slide, please.
Now, here on this slide, there are eight different images, and they all include interpreters
who are standing alongside some person who’s making announcements.
These are all announcements made in different countries.
What does this mean for Deaf people?
In light of the COVID pandemic, more and more interpreters are being present on the TV screen,
far more than before.
This is wonderful to see.
This increases awareness on Deaf people and sign languages, but then the question becomes
is that enough?
Are we still getting the same level of access to emergency information, like our hearing
people and neighbors?
So having an interpreter on the screen, does that help us get the skills that we need to
prepare and recover from disasters?
The answer is no.
Access to emergency information in sign languages is only one small part of a much bigger picture,
which I’ll explain next.
Next slide, please.
Equality versus equity.
On this slide, there is an illustration showing two trees on the far left and right of the
screen, and people with varying heights trying to pick apples from the trees.
The people who are trying to pick apples on the left hand side of the screen are standing
on boxes, and the boxes are all the same height.
Only one of those three people on the left are successful in reaching the apples.
That part of the slide is labeled equality.
The three people picking apples on the right, from a tree, each person is standing on boxes
of varying heights.
And everyone can successfully reach the apples on the tree.
This slide is labeled and considered equity.
So what do these words mean?
Equality means that things are the same in terms of resources, opportunities, and access.
For some people access may be easy for them, but for others it might be quite difficult.
This applies to the UN and national laws and policies.
They typically promote equal access for people with disabilities to emergency information,
just like everyone else, but it doesn’t actually talk about how accessible it should be.
Equity means that things are fair, fair access to opportunities, information, and resources that fits
every person’s needs.
Now, this is where many emergency and disaster management services fail to truly understand
the difference between equity and equality.
And I’ll explain more on the next slide, please.
On this slide there’s a circle that’s split into four sections.
Each section has text, and in the middle, there’s a text that reads disaster response cycle.
These four different sections are labeled as preparedness, response, recovery, and prevention.
So for Deaf people, most of us have access to emergency information in sign language
during the response part only.
That’s only one fourth of the entire DRR cycle that is accessible to us.
When you look at equity, what is fair for Deaf people?
Is the quality of the interpreter easy to understand?
Just because there’s an interpreter on the TV screen does not ensure that this interpreter is qualified.
There have been disaster – emergency and disaster management that don’t understand the difference
between a qualified interpreter and someone that just took a sign language class.
Is this fair?
What about accessing emergency preparedness, recovery, and prevention information in sign
language as well?
Hearing people have 100% access to emergency and disaster information during the entire
DRR cycle, all four parts, and they’re also made available in multiple spoken and written languages.
So why do we not have the same for sign languages as well?
If you look at the international emergency agencies, you can find information available
in different languages, but not one of them have it available in sign language.
Is that fair?
Next slide, please.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: This is Kota, I just wanted to let you know that we need to wrap up soon
so we can go to the next part of the webinar. Thank you!
>> LEILANI CRAIG: Okay. Great.
We can go to the next slide then.
Next slide, please.
To wrap up this presentation, I think that there are three important points.
The Deaf community has to have a permanent place in all policy and disaster planning
to make sure that their needs are included.
Two, we have to achieve a bigger picture of inclusionary practices that goes just beyond
an interpreter on a TV during disaster response.
And lastly, we need to break that 18 years of not enough information being disseminated,
that cycle on emergency information.
These barriers that Deaf people have faced during disasters has been going on far long enough.
With these frequent disasters happening, it’s time for us to break this cycle.
>> AUDREY COOPER: Excellent.
Thank you, Leyla.
You really touched on and tied in so many parts of this presentation, talking about
local and national and international, and I definitely many looking forward to more
of a discussion as we move on.
And so now I will invite Kota and Emmanuel to join us.
And we’ll move on to the moderated discussion portion of our webinar.
We’re waiting for Emmanuel to join us.
And if I could have the international interpreter turn their camera off and then come back on
Thank you so much, Emmanuel and Leyla, for your presentations.
We’ve got a lot to unpack and to digest together.
We’re definitely looking forward to that.
We also have a lot of questions in the Q&A lined up, so we’re going to go ahead and jump
to our second question for the moderated discussion.
So as both of you just talked about your experiences being involved in DRR, what got you interested
in those policies, and what aspects have you noted that you can comment on today, both
the policy part, how did you become involved in that, and how have you been able to influence
policies internationally for the disability community?
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: Thank you for that question.
So when I have visited Haiti during the national disasters, there was a lack of policy that was there.
When I spoke with the government, I found myself trying to highlight that there was
a lack of policy and work with WFD to help get some policy implemented.
And recognizing that this is going to have a powerful impact on the country.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: And sure, for me, I’ve been directly involved with the government on international policies.
I really have been involved in research, researching those topics, and also from my past work in
Australia and the Philippines, I’ve been involved in a variety of projects on disaster reduction,
risk reduction, in those communities.
So it is important to start from somewhere, from the government level or some folks have
a beginning to point to who is responsible, and governments are responsible, so that’s
where I dive into my research.
>> AUDREY COOPER: And that research part is of critical importance, especially from people
who are Deaf themselves, who are a part of the Deaf community, and implementing those efforts.
That creates a different completely different perspective than from others.
And just a follow up question to this, how many Deaf people do the two of you know that
are involved in their own DRR research?
Is this a large number, a few?
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: This is Emmanuel.
I would say it’s a pretty small number.
I know that I’m thankful that Gallaudet University is cohosting this presentation, because that
has an impact, but around the world, when you think about it, really there are not many.
We definitely need more.
>> LEILANI CRAIG: And this is Leyla.
I think it’s a good question.
I agree with what Emmanuel shared.
I do hope that in the future, we will see a larger interest in this research in DRR,
but currently, the numbers are very few.
>> AUDREY COOPER: All right.
And Kota, do you want to handle the question on the next slide?
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Yes.
Can you talk about how you got involved in disaster and emergency work?
And either one of you can start.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: Sure.
This is Emmanuel.
I worked there in the United States.
That was back in 2010 at the embassy and it was around the time of the earthquake that
happened in Haiti.
So I was working at the embassy for France and then met some people who were born in
Haiti who was talking about what happened there.
We got together and because I speak French, they then thought I would be great to work
with the government and people there and to share my feedback and ideas at the various
meetings they were having when they were giving clothing and other supplies out to folks.
So there were some people there who wanted me to support what was happening in Haiti.
Various organizations wanted me to be involved.
So I got involved and began to see what the gaps were, what was missing in terms of, you
know, identifying with people who are wounded and hurt and being a part of that disaster.
I just completely dived in head first.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: This is Leyla.
I think it’s been a mix of personal and professional experiences.
I grew up in California which we are known for our earthquakes in California, so we had
that as a reoccurring experience.
And then I moved to Australia, and here we have quite a few bush fires that happen, and
so that, along with working in the Philippines let me backtrack a little bit.
It started with a project, because my personal experience gave me some knowledge of natural
disasters, but I didn’t fully understand what a big impact this was until I started this
project here in the Sydney area, and I started to gather some data.
I started to collect some information on Deaf people and their experiences with natural disasters.
And that made me realize that there’s a tremendous gap, a huge disconnect between emergency services
and the Deaf community.
Some of the information wasn’t available or was outdated, and that made me realize that
there’s more work to do in this area.
And I think that this is not isolated to Australia.
I think this is true throughout the world.
There is a huge disconnect between emergency services and the Deaf community.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Wow, and if I could follow up, ask a follow up question.
As we engage in this discussion about Deaf people becoming practitioners, about Deaf
people becoming change agents, not just recipients of services, but being on the frontline, and
we find that there are not many Deaf and DiDRR specialists or experts out there.
So just briefly, to ask you a question about how can Deaf people get the training and involvement
to become DiDRR specialists?
And where are interpreters for that training?
So if you could just respond to that, please?
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: This is Emmanuel.
There is a disaster management opportunity with the Red Cross.
I’ve taken it myself.
I thought it was very informative.
There were resources available.
I was able to get a certification so I was able to work alongside the Red Cross.
There are some university courses and trainings, but it really does depend on your fluency in English.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you, and Leyla?
>> LEYLA CRAIG: Right. It actually depends on many factors.
First of all, it depends on the country, the country has access to interpreting services.
If they can participate in the training, if they can learn more of the basic terminology,
because some of the training uses specific emergency field vocabulary that perhaps there
is no sign for that specific emergency preparedness or disaster term because people don’t have
a general understanding of those terms yet.
So I think that if they have the ability to get access and they’re motivated to being
involved, then I would definitely encourage them to be involved with local disaster risk
reduction programs or with the Red Cross programs with the training this they provide.
One thing that I’ve noted as an area of concern with training, when you have people who are
Deaf and people with disabilities and they’re lumped together in one training, it’s difficult.
It’s better if there’s a Deaf centric training that follows the Deaf way of teaching and
that accommodates a Deaf person’s ability to learn in that environment.
That gives them time to process and to pick up the information, rather than being with
a disability group, because it is sound based, and so the speed of the transaction and the
speed of the conversation parallels hearing culture.
So I definitely think the two groups need to be separated.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you for that.
And that is the reason why we need Deaf leaders in DRR.
This is a great way to start that discussion.
And Audrey, do you want to start in the interest of time?
>> AUDREY COOPER: Yeah.
I think we need to jump to Q&A because of timing, but there’s a long list of questions.
So let’s jump to Q&A.
We’ve got some wonderful questions that have been posed there.
And the first one asks how can we as Deaf American emergency managers help support your
mission of educating other countries, their governments, and their citizens about preparedness,
about response, about recovery, mitigation of damage, and also protection?
How can we here in America help to educate those folks from other countries?
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: I think that it’s good to start with FEMA, and doing some work on a
local level, getting some experience there.
Then can tie you into working with the World Federation of the Deaf, becoming a member.
The DRR special interest group will work with Deaf organizations in various countries.
And then in the future, then working with other organizations and trying to get grants
to foster more education.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: Sure.
I think we could do that.
But again there are those factors that are involved.
It’s great if American people want to get involved in supporting other countries.
However, we have to be careful in terms of how you’re included in those other countries
because maybe your practices and your approach is different in America as compared to other countries.
So with any country that you want to support, you must first understand the culture of that
country first before you go ahead and try to be involved.
So yeah, definitely that’s what I would say, is that basically you have to understand how
the system in that country works, because not all countries are run the same as America.
However, it’s great, you know, if you want to be involved and to offer support, just
be careful and have mentally that in mind, the cultural and linguistic factors that influence
practices in other countries.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: Yes, this is Emmanuel speaking.
Especially those organizations who ask for help.
It’s really important to learn the local sign language that they use there and making sure
that you’re respectful of their culture in their country, yes, absolutely.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: Uh huh, I agree.
>> AUDREY COOPER: So before we go on to the next question, I want to recognize that there
are two people in the group today that have raised their hands and want to ask a question.
Because we are using this webinar format, we cannot invite other videos on to the screen.
In the future hopefully we will be able to invite you to come and sign your own question.
So I want to recognize that.
And if you can, and you have a desire to, you can include your question in the Q&A box.
We can also chat through email after the conclusion of this webinar.
The next question is how do Deaf people know that emergency is happening?
And this is a general question, especially people who are Deaf, and with intersectional identities.
Maybe even themselves they have a pregnant woman, a person with mental health.
There are various groups of people that we need to recognize.
How will they know that an emergency is happening?
>> LEYLA CRAIG: This is Leyla.
Can you clarify the question?
You mean how does a person know an emergency is happening?
Can you expand on the question a little bit more, please?
>> AUDREY COOPER: So this was my interpretation of the question.
I’m reading it from the Q&A box and it says how do Deaf people know that there is an emergency?
I think that’s the most important part of the question to answer.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: It’s going to depend on what country you’re in.
Some countries have no plan to let them know.
>> INTERPRETER: Can we just do a pause here for the international interpreter?
Yes, I’m so sorry but there are two or three of you speaking at the same time.
If you can just bring the pace down and just a bit, please.
Thank you, and go back to one person at a time.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: So this is Jacq.
It depends on whether organization have a plan and if they’re prepared to address that
issue with Deaf people, but I mean they definitely should be starting that process.
They should be reaching out to the local government and getting involved, and then moving up to
other levels as well.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: I agree.
This is Leyla.
>> AUDREY COOPER: And this is Audrey.
I think general research shows that what is worse is that Deaf people have such little
access to communication and information about emergencies, so they typically don’t have a plan.
Typically, indicators are sound based, so Deaf people typically have no idea an emergency is happening
until it’s far too late, until they’ve already experienced any kind of disaster, be it a
crisis or they have passed away.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: Correct.
And if I could add to this.
Definitely some Deaf people are depending on their family to get information, to understand
what the warnings are.
Many of them however have no access, right?
So they depend on hearing family members or perhaps on neighbors who they have a good
The neighbor will check in on the Deaf person and say, hey, this is happening, and let them
know what should be done.
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: And this is Kota.
I just wanted to add based on my research, that technology is not a solution, but sometimes
’cause sometimes we do lose access to technology as well.
It is important that a Deaf individual that Deaf people are involved on the community
level so they know that their hearing neighbors are there, that we create a sense of community.
And typically the Deaf community that are pushed out or marginalized from the general
society are at higher risk.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: And this is Emmanuel.
So what this means is, you know, when you use a system for sending out text messages
or you have interpreter on a nationally televised announcement, saying that there’s a flood,
you need to let them know information such as where to go, what to put in their go bag,
do they need to bring clothes with them, medical files with them, et cetera.
Because many Deaf people are not aware of what needs to be done in that situation.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: This is Leyla.
Just to add to that, also it’s important and it’s a challenge with Deaf people who don’t
have education who don’t read or don’t write, it’s an even greater barrier for them, because
they don’t have access to technology.
So how would they get access to communicate and get information?
So I think that is exponentially worse for that population.
It is a challenge, and so I think that’s where the Deaf community needs to figure out a way
to support those individuals to make sure that those individuals are okay and have access,
so it really depends on a particular country and their ability to respond.
Again not all countries have the resources and ability to respond and provide that level
of support to their many facets of the Deaf community.
>> AUDREY COOPER: Excellent.
And now we’ve got like two or three minutes left, but there’s a very important question
that I want to bring from the chat.
One person asked a question about the United Nations disaster risk and reduction.
And they want to know how can the UN improve their work?
What can the UN DRR do in terms of providing access?
What is it that they need to do to improve their work?
If someone could speak to that.
>> EMMANUEL JACQ: So personally, this is Emmanuel, I know the UN has always been open to listening
to Deaf people.
They have solicited the opinion of Deaf UFD and other organizations and other international
disability organizations to help improve access to people with disabilities.
So there have been several instances where they have asked me and they’ve been very open
to hearing that.
>> LEYLA CRAIG: And this is Leyla.
I agree, but at the same time the UN DRR can make improvements in terms of community inclusion,
and it’s also important for them to understand equity and the importance of that and how
to work with it.
So the UN policy typically focuses on access for the broader community, and access doesn’t
So equity is what the UN needs to improve to make sure that Deaf people are included,
and also to make sure that there is understanding about that topic of equity.
>> AUDREY COOPER: This is Audrey, I think Emmanuel and Leyla, you both touched on this,
and, yes, equity must also understand the cultural and linguistic part of it, of what
So providing captioning, for example, for a particular group may not be effective.
Maybe international interpreting may not be effective, because it is a large world that
we live in, and there are many types of international signs and international different signed languages.
So what country are we catering to?
I think really understanding the language part first is so important.
That also includes indigenous languages and cultures, and somebody in our audience asked
Unfortunately we don’t really have time to get into it.
But are we really considering local dialects, be it spoken or signed?
How do we include these underrepresented places in our world in our work?
And we have run out of time today.
Kota and I are so grateful that you have spent your time with us today, and we hope that
we can have you back again soon in the future.
Kota, do you want to conclude the presentation with some thanks?
>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Yes.
And I would have a simple solution too.
Hire more Deaf people in leadership roles.
You know, they can actually be a part of that.
So that’s one simple answer to that question.
And now if we can go to our next slide.
So we are running short on time, but I do want to speak to our acknowledgements, and thank you’s.
Again a special thank you to our GADRA partners, and to Gallaudet University as well.
I also want to say thank you to Sonia Holzman, thank you so much for the work that you do.
And then a big shoutout to Matthew Terry, who is with Gallaudet technology services.
We certainly couldn’t do this without you.
Thank you to Caitlin Smith for your support with Gallaudet interpreting services.
Thank you to Sherrette Estes and Jo Linda Greenfield, our ASL to English interpreters.
And thank you to Carol lee Aquiline and Steven Surrency, our International Sign interpreters.
And thank all of you for being here today for our webinar.
And here is our contact information, if you have further questions or comments. IDMA@Gallaudet.EDU
And again for our interpreters, everyone come on screen and just say hello for a closing.
Thank you, everyone, a big round of applause for your work today.
(End of program.)
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