Monday, September 16, 2013

How to make disasters less deadly for the disabled

IRIN: Early and accessible information about pending disasters, relief and aid dissemination are crucial to improve disaster risk reduction and relief programming for people with disabilities, say experts.

“A lot of the risk people face in disasters comes from poverty and social marginalization – where people live, what they live in, and their ability to move matters immensely when it comes to risk,” Myroslava Tataryn, a research fellow at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told IRIN.

“Physical impairments can mean people rely on other people to help them move…Accessible information about basic safety and coping is crucial,” she said.

Research has shown that in disasters, people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable. If their impairment affects their ability to move or communicate, they are not only at greater risk of death, injury and isolation, but may also struggle to access humanitarian assistance and information about relief services available. Just as hard as it is for people with disabilities to get information, humanitarian agencies are also struggling to learn their needs.

Research by Christian Blind Mission (CBM), an international organization working with people with disabilities in developing countries, has shown that communities and governments lack information about the needs and capacities of persons with disabilities, and therefore frequently exclude them from disaster plans and protocols....

Assisting a blind man in Oaxaca, Mexico, shot by emilio labrador, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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