‘We always come last’: Deaf people are vulnerable to disaster risk but excluded from preparedness
Why are Deaf people vulnerable and excluded?
Via a mix of focus group discussions and interviews with 317 Deaf people, approximately 11.8% of the identified Deaf population in NSW, Deaf people shared their experiences of bushfires, floods, hailstorms and severe storms, tropical cyclones, and earthquakes.
Communication issues are the biggest barrier:
Deaf people have limited access to disaster information in Auslan (Australian sign language), in plain English or in pictorial form
emergency messages are usually communicated via TV and radio, door-to-door messaging, loudspeaker alerts and social media which are either audio in form or too complicated for many Deaf people to understand
emergency personnel and emergency shelter staff can find it hard to communicate with Deaf people due to language barriers.
Consequently, Deaf people are frequently unaware of evacuation shelter locations, unsure of whom and how to ask for help, and more likely to return to unsafe homes and conditions.
This marginalises them further and increases vulnerability. They also have difficulties in getting information on how to access recovery resources.
Interesting Australian study in disaster risk for deaf people.