Transcript for Deaf-Led Disaster Action Event

Deaf-led Disaster Action

Event Transcript

>>[VOICEOVER]: Deaf-Led Disaster Action: a virtual panel hosted by the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) and Gallaudet University. Recorded September 24, 2021.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Hello, and welcome. Hello again. My name is Dr. Kota Takayama. I’m a professor here at Gallaudet University. I’m joined by my two colleagues. To my left is Dr. Danielle Thompson, and to my right is Dr. Audrey Cooper. The three of us will be moderating today’s conversation. Thanks, Audrey and Danielle. So again a hearty hello and welcome to everyone joining us. We have over 400 people online. That’s amazing. We’ll have a series of presentations today focusing on Deaf-led disaster action. The Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, otherwise referred to as GADRA, and Gallaudet University have partnered to make this event possible, to feature the work of organizations in Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. As you can already see, we’re also using multiple sign languages in our program today, which demonstrates something critically important, which is that sign languages are not the same worldwide, and when disasters happen, we must understand and value each sign language community. We have a rich program planned today, and hope that you’ll enjoy learning from each of our presenters. If you take a look in the Zoom chat box, you’ll see that we have posted information about languages and the webinar agenda. Danielle?

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Hello. Today I’m going to talk a little bit the logistics for today’s webinar. As you see on the Zoom screen, we have a new experience for all of us. This is a new experience for us as well. So I’m going to share a few tips to make sure that this webinar is successful. We would recommend that you leave the Zoom in webinar mode, at gallery view, so that you can see each person’s screen. You’ll also notice that at the bottom of an individual screen, it will have the person’s name, followed by the language that they’re using, or vice versa. Throughout the presentation, you’ll notice there’s some pauses. Not to worry. We’re allowing some time for our interpreters to catch up. There are two options for the captions, which will be provided in English. You can either see it embedded into the Zoom. There’s also a link that we have included into the chat box for a StreamText link. That link will allow for people to see the captions on a separate screen. We do have English, Japanese, and Vietnam interpreters ready to answer any questions or comments in the chat. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the Q&A, which is where you will share your question or comment in the language of your preference, and we will attend to those when we are ready. I would now like to turn it over to Audrey.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you, Danielle. All right. Now having discussed logistics, it is time to start the program. Today the three organizations, again from Japan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam, will describe their work in how they prepare for and respond to disasters. Many Deaf people and organizations are involved in disaster action all over the world. However, there’s very little information on their actions. We believe that two important reasons for this are that most governments often do not recognize the sign languages used in their countries, and secondly, governments often do not recognize Deaf people’s contributions to society, which means that these organizations lack equitable access to training and resource networks. This makes it all the more incredible that they do the work that they do without this support. As we celebrate International Week of the Deaf, and International Day of Sign Language yesterday, we hope that this event will bring more attention to these issues and to Deaf organizations who are working to save lives and to underscore the importance of their work, as they are truly out there every day saving lives. The presentations will begin shortly, but first we are honored to have some opening remarks by GADRA and Gallaudet University. From GADRA, we are joined by Marcie Roth, Germán Parodi, and Shaylin Sluzalis. Following the presentations from the GADRA representatives, we will have remarks from Dr. Gaurav Mathur, dean of the graduate school at Gallaudet University. I’ll now turn it over to Marcie Roth. Marcie is the Executive Director of the World Institute on Disability, and cofounder of GADRA.

>> MARCIE ROTH: Good morning. Thank you for joining the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration today, for this important and unprecedented discussion, and a special thanks to our GADRA partners from Gallaudet University. GADRA was launched in July 2020 by three disability-led organizations: The World Institute on Disability, the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, and ONG Inclusiva, as an unprecedented collaboration between disability-led organizations, foundations, and corporations to disrupt the failed charity approach to disaster relief. This long standing approach does not provide resources to local disability-led organizations who are most knowledgeable about how to support their community in a disaster. By bringing together local disability-led organizations, with the humanitarian resources from philanthropic donors, these vital community leaders are able to restore or continue their operations, serving their disaster impacted community when they are needed most. I’m excited to introduce our next speakers, our GADRA partners, Germán Parodi and Shaylin Sluzalis, co directors of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies and emerging global disability and disaster leaders.

>> SHAYLIN SLUZALIS: Hello, everyone, and thank you for having us today. My name is Shaylin Sluzalis. >> GERMÁN PARODI: I’m Germán Parodi. >> SHAYLIN SLUZALIS: The Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, GADRA, has connected with 1,540 disability leaders from 72 countries around the world, in its first year. In these spaces we raise awareness of the problem and provide solutions from disability-led organizations.

>> GERMÁN PARODI: GADRA has partnered with Gallaudet University to highlight the leadership role of the Deaf community in disasters around the world. Our goal is to share valuable information that help us all plan for and respond to disasters in an inclusive manner.

>> SHAYLIN SLUZALIS: We aim to create a global network of disability-led organizations involved in the matter of inclusive disaster risk reduction, and establish bridges to humanitarian relief resources, ensuring funding and support get to – right to disability-led organizations and the people they serve throughout disasters. Consider joining us at GADRA today.

>> GERMÁN PARODI: And it is our honor, without further ado to introduce Dr. Gaurav Mathur. Dr. Mathur is the Dean of the Gallaudet University’s graduate school. A linguistic by discipline, Dr. Mathur has conducted research on sign languages around the world, and is a strong advocate for Deaf people’s human rights to sign language. Dr. Mathur?

>> GAURAV MATHUR: Thank you so much, Germán and Shaylin. Disability inclusive disaster risk reduction is a growing field of practice. Yet Deaf people, including people who are DeafBlind, hard of hearing, or Deaf plus, are still marginalized from disaster communication in their countries. They are also marginalized from training and leadership roles in disaster management. There are two main reasons for this marginalization of Deaf people from disaster management: Stigma, generally referencing derogatory attitudes toward Deaf people, and language exclusion. I’ll talk a bit more about this. Most governments do not recognize the sign languages used within their borders. As such, their support for research on sign languages is little to nothing. Whereas there are thousands of languages in the world, only about 200 sign languages have been documented, and of these, only a few have been thoroughly analyzed. If governments do not recognize their Deaf community’s sign languages, they’re not likely to invest in policy, programmatic innovation, technology, or language translation services that Deaf communities use in order to contribute to disaster management and to their societies in general. Given this situation around the world, and the increasing frequency and severity of disaster events, Deaf organizations have begun developing their own approaches to preparing whole community responses to disaster emergency, disaster or emergency management. In light of that, I am pleased to announce that in order to support these efforts, Gallaudet University is excited to share that it is in the process of developing a graduate certificate program in global leadership and Deaf centered disability inclusive risk reduction and emergency planning. We anticipate this certificate program to launch in 2022. Gallaudet is honored to have the participation of the three presenters here today, and honored by their efforts to share with us all the significance of investing in Deaf people’s disaster preparedness and response efforts.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you so much, Dr. Mathur, for those remarks. We now will get underway with the presentations. I am honored to introduce you to our first presenter of the day, Mr. Naoki Kurano. Mr. Kurano works for the Japanese Federation of the Deaf. Thank you so much, Mr. Kurano, for being with us today.

>> NAOKI KURANO: Thank you for the introduction. I’m really happy to see all of you here. My name is Kurano, as just introduced. Kurano, that is my sign name. In 2011, Japan experienced a giant earthquake and tsunami, and in this disaster, 15,000 people lost their lives. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf conducted disaster relief support to Deaf people and sign language interpreters in the affected areas. And from this experience, we learned many very important lessons. That is what I wish to talk to you about today. There are three points that I would like to point out. The first is the importance of we, the Deaf ourselves taking part in disaster relief, and the second point is the hardships that – and problems that deaf people encounter in case of a disaster. And the third point is what governments can do to support Deaf people in disasters. Those three points I will talk about now. The first point, the importance of Deaf, we Deaf ourselves taking part in disaster relief activities. Deaf people, who are the people who know best what causes hardships for the Deaf? It’s the Deaf ourselves. So if disaster relief for the Deaf would be most effective if conducted in collaboration with the Deaf. To enable this, it is important for Deaf associations in the country to form a strong networking in normal times before a disaster. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf has member associations in all 47 prefectures of the country, and we have a strong network. We have all together about 17,000 members. We are a national organization of the Deaf. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf, when the giant earthquake and tsunami arose, in just four days after the disaster, we established a central headquarters for disaster relief for people affected by the tsunami and earthquake, and we supported the Deaf people and interpreters. We sent relief goods, supplies. We dispatched sign language interpreters, and we also sent social workers who can sign, Deaf social workers as well. And we called on friends throughout the country for a big fundraising campaign and collected a total of about 47 million Japanese yen, and this we sent to the Deaf people and interpreters in the affected areas for their restoration of their lives. The central headquarters for disaster relief, which was set up for the giant earthquake, has now changed its name slightly to disaster risk reduction, and in normal times it will train the Deaf communities about disaster preparedness, and also send petitions to the government, advocate with the government, for the needs of the Deaf in disasters. If a disaster should arise, the headquarters would quickly be called to action to support the Deaf. But what is important is the support, support to Deaf people in disasters should come from the Deaf themselves. We know best. And so the importance of having a strong national network is very important. The second point, problems that Deaf people confront in times of disaster. Information on the disaster and information on evacuation, if they don’t reach us, it means that many Deaf people will die. Also if we can’t communicate with the hearing people around us, even if those that manage to escape or evacuate, they will face many hardships before their lives are actually restored to normal. In the East Japan giant earthquake, the death rate of people with disabilities was double that of people without disabilities. And looking at the breakdown of different disabilities, there are five disability groups: Visual disabilities, hearing disabilities, physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and mental disabilities. Among these different categories of disabilities, the death rate was highest for which group do you think? It was highest for the deaf actually. The death rate was highest for the Deaf. This was a big shock for us, because we can’t hear, but we can move around. We can run. We can escape. So why was it that the death rate was the highest for D eaf people? That was because we couldn’t hear the warning sirens for the warning announcements. Television didn’t give us no sign language interpretation on television. We didn’t know, we couldn’t – Deaf people didn’t know that they had to evacuate, they had to escape. That’s why many people lost their lives. They couldn’t escape in time. And even those that managed to evacuate, escape, confronted many hardships. In the evacuation centers, they would give out food, distribute food or clothing, but all of the announcements would come in audio form, verbal form. And they wouldn’t reach us. And also support. Support for to restore our lives didn’t reach us in time. There were no sign language interpreters to help us. Sign language interpreters were also – suffered the earthquake, so there was no one to help us, help the Deaf people. So psychologically and mentally, Deaf people, no one to support them, no one to discuss with. There was no one to communicate with, so the communication barrier was very, very tremendous in those times. Therefore, in the restoration of their lives, deaf people felt very isolated and despair. The giant earthquake took place ten years ago, but the situation remains much the same today in the following disasters that have followed since 2011. The third point is what governments can do to support the Deaf. According to the – in compliance to the CRPD, all the information to on the disaster on how to escape should come in sign languages that will reach the Deaf people. In disaster relief and support, it should be conducted together with the Deaf organization. Deaf organizations, Deaf people should be included in disaster relief activities. So we ask three things for the governments to do. The first point is when sending information on a disaster or evacuation, always to include sign language in the announcements and warnings. The second point is when making plans for disaster relief or disaster preparedness, always include Deaf organizations in the planning stages. Also when training, when providing training on disaster preparedness, to include Deaf organizations in the planning of the training. And the third point is ensure that the government’s disaster risk reduction system includes organizations of persons with disabilities, Deaf organizations, other disability organizations, in the system itself. The way we think, the people with the same disabilities are the ones who know best what is needed of the people with the same disability. That’s what governments should keep in mind. People with disabilities are not just recipients of support. We can be providers of support as well. So for disaster relief support, we should be included. Disability organizations should be included. But I want everyone to know, there are several points that I want you to know, Japan is a country that experiences lots of natural disasters, earthquakes, typhoons, mountain eruptions, volcano eruptions. We have lots of natural disasters. Right now there are two typhoons approaching Japan right now at this moment. We are really a country that experiences lots of disasters. So the important – I think the important thing is to have a connection, for Deaf people to have a connection with the community around them. When a disaster arises, what the problems that Deaf people encounter in a disaster are actually there in everyday life, and they just become more evident in a disaster. So from everyday life, people with disabilities should have a strong connection with the community around them. I think that’s really important. And there are several new issues. People with disabilities are not all the same. There are women with disabilities, there are LGBT people with disabilities. There are young children, babies with disabilities. And these involve new issues. It’s the same with people without disabilities. We are not all the same. So disaster resilience, disaster risk reduction should take on should consider the aspect of diversity in society. That is another important thing. Thank you so much for giving me this chance to talk to you today. That is all for my side.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you so much for an invigorating presentation. Let’s all give a round of applause to Mr. Kurano. Thank you again. Our next presenters will be introduced by Dr. Danielle Thompson. Danielle?

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Good morning. I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago is a relatively small island off the coast of South America. And I am honored to introduce our two presenters today from Trinidad and Tobago. They are calling in today from Trinidad and Tobago. They are both tireless community advocates for the Deaf community in Trinidad and Tobago. Their names are Mr. Ian Dhanoolal and Bryan Rodrigues. I would like to invite both Ian and Bryan to the Zoom gallery.

>> IAN DHANOOLAL: Hello, everyone, and good morning. My name is Ian Dhanoolal. I am Deaf. And I am the current president of Deaf Empowerment and Advancement Foundation, abbreviated as D.E.A.F. Thank you so much to Gallaudet University and GADRA for extending the invitation to present to you today about our organization. I’d like to begin by giving you a bit of history about our organization. To give you context, the government had supported efforts to create a dictionary for Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language. This was a two year effort, and at the conclusion of that time, many of the Deaf people who were involved in creating that dictionary decided to create an organization called Deaf Empowerment Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, DEOTT, which was founded in 2010. In 2014 we underwent a name change to the name we are currently operate under, Deaf Empowerment and Advancement Foundation. The mission of our organization is primarily to educate and offer equal access to the Deaf community of Trinidad and Tobago. We currently have a partnership with another organization, called Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired. This organization is run by hearing individuals, and that organization has a relationship with our parliament. In times of natural disasters, which we encounter frequently, TTAHI is leaned upon by the government to provide information. However, they offer very limited information to the Deaf community. They do offer interpretation on TV. However, that interpretation is offered in signed exact English, which is functionally unintelligible to most of the signing community, as most of the signing community uses Trinidad and Tobago sign language. In response to that, in 2012, D.E.A.F. decided to offer news broadcasts available to Deaf people on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, so that Deaf people will have access to information that they don’t otherwise get. We started off with a relatively small audience, but year after year, we have seen more membership, more views, more followers, because our connection to the signing Deaf community of Trinidad and Tobago is so strong. D.E.A.F. provides critical information to the Deaf community, and all of this work is done on a volunteer basis. We do not have any private funding or governmental support. We make these broadcasts with our own equipment, our own backgrounds, our own wardrobes, so this is completely an individual volunteer effort. With that, I would like to turn the floor over to Bryan.

>> BRYAN RODRIGUES: Hello, everyone. My name is Bryan Rodrigues. I am also Deaf. And I’d like to extend a warm hello to the entire group here with us today, those from GADRA, Gallaudet, Vietnam, and Japan. I am one of the cofounders of D.E.A.F., where I work alongside Ian, who you just saw. Again I would like to reinforce that all of our efforts are volunteer. We use our own time and resources to make these videos available about hurricanes, floods, various types of natural disasters that our communities face. We usually have a hurricane annually. Our hurricane season runs from June to about November, and I want to underscore that this is an annual event that we face. We are accustomed to having information be made available to us on TV, but often emergency alerts are made available on radio prior to what’s on TV, so the Deaf community often finds out weather information quite late. As an example, when there is a tropical storm that is developing into a hurricane, that sort of emergency information gets to Deaf people quite late. Similarly when we face floods, Deaf people find themselves in a position of needing information when they’re already in crisis, when they already need food and other disaster supplies. The D.E.A.F. board and other volunteers have undertaken our own fund raising efforts, and we also have our own system of keeping a list of who has emergency supplies and who is able to take people into their own homes if someone in another region needs support. As Ian mentioned, TTAHI is another organization that operates in Trinidad and Tobago, and depending on where the natural disaster has occurred, if there’s flooding, then we can make things like mattresses available. D.E.A.F. maintains a registry of Deaf people’s addresses so that we can get to people’s homes and give them the supplies that they need. And again we do this all on a volunteer basis, because we know that the need exists. Often during natural disasters, we also have to abide by a curfew. The Deaf Trinidad Sports Association has a pretty active football team or soccer team for some of you all on the call, and as it approached the end of the tournament, it was a pretty hot game. We didn’t realize that the government had enacted a curfew that very day. All events had to conclude, because the crime rate had escalated at that particular time in Trinidad and Tobago. The information was only made available by radio, and the Deaf people at the soccer tournament were unaware of the curfew. When we exited the stadium, we were confronted with police officers, some of whom escorted some of the Deaf people home. Some of whom decided to bring Deaf people to the local detention center. So this is an example of the ways in which emergency information is not made available to us. COVID is also something that affected everyone globally. We all know that we were – most of us stayed at home as a safety precaution, and we were able at that time to make videos available to the Deaf community. There are five of us that have makeshift video areas set up for ourselves, and we were able to work tirelessly on making COVID videos for our community. I’ll now turn it back over to Ian. >> IAN DHANOOLAL: I’d like to conclude by sharing the fact that D.E.A.F. primarily needs support for equipment, including things like lights, software, computer, recording equipment. This is key to the operation of D.E.A.F., because as I said, each of us are using our own resources and equipment. So this is our primary need at the moment. We also would like to have a physical office space that we can all use instead of having each of us use our spaces in our homes. This also would serve as a central place for the Deaf community to convene if they need information or if there is a natural disaster or a crisis, and they need some support. Many Deaf people in the community are not comfortable with TTAHI, because many of those members do not use sign language. I should add a bit of context here. In our community, ASL, TTAHI excuse me, TTSL, and home signs are the three primary forms of communication. The people who work at TTAHI primarily only use American Sign Language. They do not have the linguistic repertoire to communicate with people who use Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language or home sign. We need people who have the kind of linguistic range to support people in times of crisis and natural disasters. When D.E.A.F. has approached the government about getting support for our efforts, the government has declined our requests, and only gives financial support to TTAHI. Nevertheless, we continue to do our work in the face of these challenges and still continue to lobby the government for our human rights. Bryan and I still go to WFD events to learn as much as we can from other Deaf organizations, which really heartens us and helps keep us going in our efforts to lobby the government. I’d like to conclude by saying thanks to each and every one of you for supporting us, specifically to Gallaudet University and GADRA. I hope that you’ve enjoyed our presentation. Thank you again.

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Thank you so much, Ian and Bryan, for your presentation. I’d now like to ask you to mute your video. Thank you so much. And I’ll now turn it over to Audrey.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you so much, Danielle. I am now honored to introduce our third presenter of the day, the presenter’s name is Tien Tran. Tien is the Executive Director for PARD, which stands for Psycho Educational and Applied Research Center, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Tien, would you turn your camera on, please?

>> NGUYEN TRAN THUY TIEN: Hello, everyone. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever you are in the world. In Vietnam it is nighttime right now. And first of all, I would like to say thank you to Gallaudet University and GADRA for inviting me to be here in this webinar and to share about the Deaf community in Vietnam. My name is Tien, and I am living in Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of Vietnam. I went to Gallaudet University with the World Deaf Leadership Scholarship in 2013. And graduated in 2016 with a masters in sign language education. After that I returned to my home country and founded an organization named PARD Vietnam, so PARD stands for Psycho Education and Applied Research Center for the Deaf. We are the first Deaf-led nonprofit organization in Vietnam. And the spirit that we follow is “nothing about Deaf without Deaf”. So this celebrates the meaning of full and direct participation of Deaf people in all decisions that impact our lives. At PARD, we have different activities to achieve our visions and missions. We empower and build capacity for Deaf people. We support and advocate for the human rights of Deaf people. We also provide information accessibility for the Deaf community through programs such as the Sign Language News and The Sign Show. Last but not least, we also build a strong network of Deaf clubs throughout Vietnam. Now, I would like to share with you more about the Deaf community and the disasters in my country. Every year, disasters occur in different part of Vietnam, including floods, salt water intrusion, landslides, and hurricanes. The central part of Vietnam was most affected by flooding. And the flooding happen every year around September to November. In last year, October to November, central Vietnam was hit by consecutive tropical storms and typhoons. Sorry I think the screen is frozen, so I will repeat. Is it okay right now? Yes? So sorry for the Internet connection. Sorry. I just repeat what I just said. In last October to November, the central part of Vietnam was hit by consecutive tropical storm and typhoons, which had brought flooding and landslide to the region, so this flooding disrupted the telecommunication network and electricity, also destroy infrastructure, houses and crops. Many people were dead or missing, while tens of thousands of people had lost their home to rising water. One of the most damaged provinces in the central Vietnam is Quang Binh province. And we contacted the leader of Quang Binh Deaf club. Her name is Trang. And on behalf of them, I would like to share about this story with you all today. So in this province, the Deaf community, they have limited education. Some of them only finish primary education level. Around 30 percent of them do not know sign language. And hence they do not have access to information. In times of crisis and disaster, they often depend on the hearing members in their families and their neighbors. When they know that the flooding is coming, they will move their valuable things, such as motorcycles or rice or other things that is important to them, and they move it up to the attic of their house to avoid water. After that, they will move to stay in their neighbor house which has two to three floors to stay safe, and they only eat raw instant noodles from the package and just patiently wait for the water to come down. In last year’s flood, there was a Deaf single mother who has a little daughter, and when the neighbor informed her about the flood, she asked the neighbor to bring her little daughter to a safe place, and so she stayed back to save her 20 bags of rice. But then the flood quickly came, and she had to climb up to the ceiling beam and stay there, and sit there and wait. She was hungry, cold, and sleepless for about two days, until the police came to save her. But unfortunately she lost all her 20 bags of rice. There is another story. These are hearing parents who has a Deaf son, and when the flood is coming, they were busy to save their things. And then after that, they moved to their neighbor’s house to be safe, but then they forgot to bring the Deaf son along. So the water level quickly rose, and the Deaf son had to climb up to the ceiling and kept crying. He stayed there, and until the police came, and they had to take out the roof of the house to save him. If they came a little later, he could have died. So in those times, the Deaf community are cut off from resources, such as food, life jacket, which is very important, also they do not have fresh water to drink. But most importantly is their communication. So double crisis including disaster and the COVID 19 pandemic has deepened the impacts on Deaf people’s lives. Lockdown measures have been imposed for the last four months. Businesses have closed which caused many Deaf people to lose their jobs. Travel restrictions made them unable to go back to their hometown, and they still had to pay for their rent and food, without earning any income. The government has released funds and food to support its citizens, and our organization, PARD, has spread this information and consulted Deaf people to get them support. However, we know that there are still many Deaf people out there that we have not reached yet. And because they do not have access to information. So that’s why we are trying our best to get connected with the local Deaf clubs to have as many contacts with Deaf people as possible. So at PARD, we have the Sign Language News Program to disseminate information to the Deaf community, so that Deaf people can get information in times of crisis. We also provide free interpretation services in time of crisis for Deaf people. We and Deaf people around Vietnam donate funds and food such as rice to the Deaf community in central Vietnam. However, it is not enough, and we need more sustainable resources. So we have discussed with the Deaf community, and these are the resources we need to support them. First we need to provide training for Deaf people, it is important to know how to protect themselves and to prepare to cope with disaster. We also need resources such as life jackets, headlamps, emergency resource. We also need emergency straw or bucket filters to have clean water to drink in those times. Inflatable solar light and phone charger to support the communication of Deaf people so that they can get connected with each other. We also need medical kits and hygiene supplies. Last but not least, we also need the financial support for food and restoring houses after the disaster. Now the rainy season is already beginning right now in Vietnam, and just yesterday, a storm hit the central part of Vietnam. So we hope that we will get the resources that we need to support our Deaf community. Thank you, everyone, for watching my presentation. And if you want to get connected with us, you can send us an email at, or on our Facebook page, PARD Vietnam. Once again, thank you so much.

>> I’m waiting for the Vietnamese Sign Language interpreters to return to the screen.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Great. Thank you so much. Thank you again, Tien, for a wonderful presentation. To the audience, you’ll have a chance to ask questions of Tien a little bit later. We are going to conduct our Q&A in a couple of components. The format of Q&A will be that each organization will respond to your questions one at a time. We’ll go in the same order of their presentations, so we’ll start with Mr. Kurano. Allow time for the audience to ask their questions of Mr. Kurano. Then we’ll turn the floor over to Mr. Rodrigues and Mr. Dhanoolal. Again we’ll have a few moments to ask questions of them, and then we will end with time for asking questions of Tien. At the end of the Q&A portion, the organizing committee will return to the committee for concluding remarks. Now, about how to ask your questions, we apologize that we will not be able to have participants turn on their cameras to ask questions in sign languages. Instead what we ask is that you type your questions into the Q&A box. You can use Japanese, Vietnamese, or English to type your questions in. I’ve already seen how active you all are in the chat box, already using your respective languages. And some of you have already put questions into the Q&A. Kota, Danielle and I will moderate those questions. Kota?

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Hello again. As Audrey said, we will now move into the Q&A portion of our program, starting with the Japanese representatives. Mr. Kurano, could you please come on screen? We have a couple of questions for you, Mr. Kurano. The first question, we’ll start with the simplest. How many Deaf people perished as part of the 2011 earthquake?

>> NAOKI KURANO: Thank you. Okay. Thank you for the question. In the 2011 earthquake, according to survey, it says that 75 people, Deaf people died. However, the Japanese standard for hearing disability, compared to the world standard, is very strict. Hearing disability is like 75 decibels in both ears. It has to be over 75 decibels. WHO says 50 decibels. The Japanese standard is over 75 decibels, so under that standard, 75 people died. But actually if we go by the WHO standard, I think the number would increase much, much more. So the definition, according to ours, the Japanese standard is 75 people.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you for that response. The next question asks about how the relationship is between JFD and the Japanese government. Could you tell us whether it’s a relatively positive or a relatively tense relationship?

>> NAOKI KURANO: Thank you for that. That’s a good question. The Japanese Federation of the Deaf, in relation to disaster risk reduction, every year we send petitions to the government, we want to do this, and gradually things are progressing. We exchange opinions. They ask us questions, and they’re beginning to understand us. Two years ago there was a big actually progress. The meteorological agency of Japan, when there’s a typhoon or a big earthquake, they have the representative comes on television and the media and explains the situation. And until now there were no sign language interpreters during this press conference. But starting from last year, 24 hours, anytime, whenever they have this press conference, they would always have a sign language interpreter. And we have been continuing this conversation with the government. So it’s slow progress, but things are progressing.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you again for that response. Our final question, in Japan, is there specific DRR, disaster risk reduction, education and training, or any emergency management training available for Deaf Japanese people?

>> NAOKI KURANO: You’re talking about our organization, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, or Japan in general?

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Specifically offered by well, either, offered by JFD or available in general for Deaf people for training that’s focused on Deaf people. A certificate, for example, anything offered by a college, a university, or training institution.

>> NAOKI KURANO: All right. The government and local administrations, universities, do not have any special training for Deaf people. So the Japanese Federation of the Deaf toward Deaf people and to the community. We are trying to make a program so that we’re trying to make a program towards the Deaf people and the community to train people. To train the community about Deafness, the problems that Deaf people confront, and simple signs that people can communicate with. We have pamphlets like this showing simple signs, how to communicate with the Deaf people. The Japanese Federation made this and distributed to all local communities. So the hearing people in community can get together with the Deaf people. Deaf people can teach hearing people around them using this pamphlet, but unfortunately we have to start doing things like this from our side, and there’s no action from the government or local administrations, but it’s the first step.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you so much. There’s a follow up thank you so much for the additional response in relation to that question. There’s also a follow up. Is there any interpreter training in disaster risk reduction or emergency management? Again this question specifically relates to interpreters and interpreting.

>> NAOKI KURANO: For interpreters, we have terminology related to disaster, for example, signs specifically related to disasters. And also I think interpreters need more knowledge about disasters. So this question is very important. At present we are still working on as I said, the relationships with the community, so that the community knows about Deaf people, but as you say, the next step would be training interpreters about knowledge, more knowledge about disasters, and how to sign the different things related to disasters.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you again, and thank you so much, Mr. Kurano, for answering our audience questions. It’s now time to turn to the Trinidad and Tobago team. Thank you again. Dr. Ochoa, would you please join on screen?

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Hello. Ian and Bryan, you can turn your cameras on. Great. We have three questions in the Q&A feature for you. The first question asks what kind of support does D.E.A.F. need to recognize D.E.A.F. and deaf leaders, versus TTAHI? Bryan?

>> BRYAN RODRIGUES: I think the type of support and resources that we need is primarily in awareness and training. Because of the nature of our work, we want to professionalize our videos. We’ve been doing this for 12 years, and have been learning on the fly, and we’re getting pretty old, so we need to turn this over to the next generation. So we also need to encourage younger members of our community to take on this work. Ian?

>> IAN DHANOOLAL: I’d like to add to this too. I would also like Deaf young people to I think young Deaf people would be more motivated if they saw that our videos were more professional. Again our goal is to provide support to the signing Deaf community and in terms of training, this is not something that many people in our community have money for. So we have tried to send people out or to send messages to different companies, asking for support, but we have not been lucky enough to get that type of financial support so far. However, this past summer, we were able to get free registration for a camp that was offered for tech skills every Sunday, so this was fantastic for the young Deaf kids in our Deaf community here. So they learned all kinds of computer and camera editing skills, storytelling skills. So we certainly do see some more motivation among young people in our community, and we’ll keep trying. We’ll keep trying to send people to different camps and connect with different companies.

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: A clarification. When you mentioned the companies, do you mean to gain employment or for training?

>> IAN DHANOOLAL: Oh, good question. When I say companies, I mean primarily to ask for financial support. When our young people want to take classes, because D.E.A.F. does not have financial resources to offer that kind of support. Again we are 100% volunteer based. We can share our knowledge, but we can’t offer that type of financial support or travel assistance if people need transportation to get from home to wherever these classes are offered, so we do reach out to companies to try to get that support for Deaf people. Bryan and I have also thought about employment and training with these different companies, but we also have so to that end, we have asked companies to give workshops at least so that information will be more accessible to Deaf people. We also think that this will help them become more aware of Deaf culture and more aware of sign language and Deaf people’s livelihood. So this is something that we also want them to be aware of.

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Thank you. Second question: Do you have any contact with other Caribbean Deaf communities? And if so, do you collaborate with them in any way?

>> BRYAN RODRIGUES: I’ll take that one. The two of us just created or we have the idea or plans to create a Caribbean Federation of the Deaf. We have decided on who the president would be. Ian would be the director. This would be an association of 15 Deaf communities, Haiti has agreed to be a member. Jose Nell has agreed to be a part of the organization, and while there is a lot of interest, because of the fact that we face a lot of natural disasters, things get in the way, and many of us don’t have the money to be able to get together. So there is a lot of desire and interest in it, but communication is also kind of hard, so it’s certainly on our minds, and all of our interactions have been very positive. Everyone is working towards improving education and improving schooling options and using sign language in their schools. So we’re all hopeful for a better and brighter future.

>> IAN DHANOOLAL: I am a sign language teacher at the University of West the West Indies. I teach there with a person named Ben, and one of our students named Rachel just did a research study about earthquakes and disaster response. She asked if I could collaborate on a research project in St. Vincent, where there was a recent volcanic eruption. I agreed to support this project, because I figured it would be easier for us to communicate if I were to work with her. This was about is it two years ago now? This was 2019. We went to the area, found and met with some Deaf people, asked about their experience after this disaster, after the eruption, and many of them said that they were not informed. They had no advance notification, and no access to information about the eruption. And we were astounded that they really had been told absolutely nothing. They did have interpreters on TV, but they said that the interpreters were not very fluent. They also added that they were hearing interpreters, so while someone was on screen, it was not actually useful.

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Thank you so much for your responses. This is all the time that we have today, and we will now turn the floor over to the Vietnamese team. Audrey?

>> AUDREY COOPER: Tien, would you like to come on camera? Great. So I will read the questions that we have for you. We’ll try to answer as many as we can in the remaining time that we have. Similar to the questions that Dr. Thompson just asked of the Trinidad and Tobago team, is there any collaboration across the country to work with other associations, or to work on getting support for DRR information?

>> NGUYEN TRAN THUY TIEN: Thank you for all the questions. And, yes, collaboration and partnership are important. And we are building a strong network of networks throughout Vietnam so that we can get in contact with Deaf people in different part of the country. Also we also partnership with disability-led organizations, and so that we can get the support and advocate for the movement of people with disabilities so that the government can pay attention and focus on the Deaf community. We also need to collaborate with experts to give training on survival skill or be prepared for coping with disaster and to give training for Deaf people so that they can know how to protect themselves and to prepare in times of crisis.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you. We have a follow up question. Since your organization works with other organizations, are there opportunities for Deaf people to take trainings that are led by Deaf instructors or trainers?

>> NGUYEN TRAN THUY TIEN: Yes. And our activities and training, we have Deaf trainers who use sign language so it will be easy for Deaf people to interact with the training. And we also give training to deaf leaders in local Deaf clubs so they can be the trainer to provide the information and the knowledge to the Deaf community in their local provinces.

>> AUDREY COOPER: It seems like you truly have a fantastic network among Deaf leaders who can serve as these instructors. Have the Deaf leaders already had any DRR training themselves?

>> NGUYEN TRAN THUY TIEN: No, they haven’t. And there is one in the north of Vietnam, but they were trained by hearing people, and so the training approach and the explanation that they given by hearing people were not suitable for Deaf people, and so that’s why it’s not suitable, and the knowledge that they get is not much.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you so much. And we have one last question in the short time that we have left. Are there any interpreter training programs about or interpreted training programs about first aid and emergency response?

>> NGUYEN TRAN THUY TIEN: Yeah. I think for this question, this training is really important. But for us we think that we should train Deaf people, and because so for the size regarding disaster and this too, we are lack of size, and we need to develop the size for this too. And after that, Deaf people, yeah, we do want to do the training better.

>> AUDREY COOPER: Thank you so much, Tien, for this discussion.


>> AUDREY COOPER: I would now like to ask you to turn your camera off momentarily. And I will wait for the Vietnamese interpreter to return on screen. We’ll now close the program. I’m sure I feel the same as many of you, which is that you want to have even more discussions and ask more questions of our presenters. All three presentations gave us a great deal of information today that I believe all of us can use. I would say that we can call this a call to action. We now have a list of requests, and so those of us who have joined today can take this as guidelines for what to do to lobby our governments, how to provide support, and what we can do to support all of these organizations’ activities. For GADRA and Gallaudet University, or on behalf of GADRA and Gallaudet University, we wish you safety and good health, but before we close, I would also like to thank a number of people who made today’s event possible. For that, I will turn this over to Kota and Danielle.

>> KOTA TAKAYAMA: Thank you in particular to each of our presenters today. Again each of you did an outstanding job and provided such worthwhile information. Thank you Bryan and Ian from Trinidad and Tobago. Thank you Naoki for the information from Japan, and thank you Tien for the information about Vietnam. I’d also like to thank your respective Deaf communities in each of your countries. Thank you so much. I’d also like to again thank GADRA for your work efforts and partnership, as well as for what you do in your organization. And of course I would like to thank the Gallaudet University provost, president, and dean of faculty, Dr. Khadijat Rashid. Thank you so much.

>> DANIELLE THOMPSON: Hello again. I would also like to thank a few other people. I’d like to thank the Gallaudet University School of Education, Language, Culture, and the School of Civic Leadership, Business, and Social Change. I’d like to thank Gallaudet University communications for the outstanding job they did, and Gallaudet technology services, in particular Mr. Matthew Terry for his support. Thank you so much. And I have to thank Miss Sonia Holzman, our IDMA, international development master’s program support specialist and outreach liaison. And the last and certainly not least, I would like to thank our entire team of interpreters today who truly made today’s event possible. Thank you so very much. So now we would like to have everyone turn their cameras on for a final goodbye. Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you all. That officially concludes the session. (End of program.)

If you are having technical issues or accessibility issues on this site, email

Main content end

0 comments on “Transcript for Deaf-Led Disaster Action Event

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *