National Welfare Center becomes Shelter for PWDs (19 March)
(20 March 2011)
Soon after Iwaki Independent Living Center in Fukushima sent an emergency request of group evacuation, the Relief HQ successfully negotiated with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to secure Toyama Sunrise (National Welfare Center for Persons with Disabilities), in Shinjuku, Tokyo as a shelter for persons with disabilities. On 19 March, Iwaki IL Center safely arrived at Toyama Sunrise.
In the meantime, many aid materials have gathered to the HQ located in Japan Council on Independent Living Centers (JIL). Staffs are extremely busy in organizing such goods and information, coordination, negotiation and responding inquiries.
Today, Higashi, Chief for Disability Measures Reformation of Cabinet Office, provided a car for staffs, so that they were able to join Toyama Sunrise.
Besides that, Tokyo Council on Independent Living Centers also urged its members to gather Toyama Sunrise. Until the Iwaki IL Center arrived, they could discuss how to create support system in Tokyo.
It was decided to assess the needs of Iwaki IL Center members considering their health condition, as they must be too tired to accept interviews. It was also decided to work for collecting donations in central Tokyo, as well as their districts.
NHK, the public broadcasting corporation, and Tokyo Shimbun, block newspaper in Tokyo, came to Toyama Sunrise for coverage. A journalist told Imamura, in charge of public relations, “I am impressed to observe such support by you who have difficulties due to disabilities”. Imamura replied “As a peer with disabilities, we can easily imagine and share their difficulties and scary emotions. So, we cannot abandon them.”
For those who require daily supports such as personal assistance care and communication support, ordinary shelters are not always safe, but sometimes extremely dangerous. It is necessary to explain medias on the reality of community living of persons with severe disabilities. Taking this opportunity, the importance of building inclusive society should be understood from the viewpoint of actions for natural disasters.
Toyama Sunrise will function as a shelter for persons with disabilities. However, it has a limited capacity. It will be necessary that IL centers nationwide share the responsibility to accept these persons with disabilities from affected areas.
There is no subsidy for them such as food expenses. The municipalities where shelters locate do not cover the expenses of their personal assistant services, but each IL center should, as they don’t have residential registration there. Or they must completely depend on unpaid volunteers.
WE SINCERELY APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT.
Account with Bank: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd
Swift Code/BIC: BOTKJPJT
Branch: Kanda Branch
Beneficiary’s Account Number: Account No.331-1187475
Beneficiary’s Name: DPI-Japan