June 18: What Prevents Us from Creating a Society that is Accessible, Affordable and Sustainable

2011-06-18

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June 18: What Prevents Us from Creating a Society that is Accessible, Affordable and Sustainable

By MASAYO FURUI

June 18, 2011

 

This discussion follows from what I wrote on June 16.

 

The cover up of the true state of contamination, leaving people to die and acting like it never happened, and inciting a social climate that tolerates the belief that “life is over if you lose your ability to move” are all happening.  And, even though it may not be apparent on the surface, the eugenic ideology is eating away at our society.  Eugenics is what is preventing us from realizing a society that is accessible, affordable, and sustainable for all.

 

Since the time of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, there were demands for accessibility for temporary housing.  We had hoped that since we have experienced several disasters since then, the temporary housing that will be built this time around would be one of universal design incorporating all of the learning from past disasters.  We believed this consideration would be part of the temporary housing plan.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  Multiple groups for people with disabilities voiced their demands from the onset, but (at least in Koriyama City and the vicinity) these logical considerations were passed over, and temporary housing construction is underway.

 

People have told us “My house is accessible, but I can’t go back to it.”  We have heard of cases where people moved into temporary housing which were supposed to be “wheelchair accessible” but had to give them up because they could not get through the doorway, or because they could not reach the housing because the way to the temporary housing was not accessible.  On May 9, the JDF Disaster Area Support Center for People with Disabilities Fukushima received a call from a man saying “I am currently in the hospital, but after discharge, I will need a wheelchair to move around and also need to visit the hospital.  My house is inside the evacuation zone and so I cannot return to my home.  I don’t know what to do.”  In this case also, the temporary housing could not cover his needs and so instead we looked for private housing that could be remodeled to accommodate his needs.  In the end he moved to another prefecture to find suitable housing.  As this case shows, accessibility is not something we need just for people with disabilities.

 

At the time of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, many people developed health issues caused by stress.  They lost loved ones, houses, businesses, jobs, and yet they struggled night and day to pull themselves through.  And in the midst of all this stress, many people developed cerebrovascular disorders or other illnesses causing disability at the prime of their life.  After the earthquake, they rebuilt or fixed their houses but realized that the houses were not at all wheelchair accessible making it impossible for them to return home.  They all said “I didn’t think this would happen to me.”  Have we learned from this experience?

 

The doctor we met at the evacuation shelter told us “I don’t know if it is stress, but an alarming number of people are developing high blood pressure.”

 

この投稿文は次の言語で読めます: Japanese

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