Particularly vulnerable but forgotten in crisis preparedness

In crises and disasters, people with disabilities are often the last to receive information and the last to receive help.

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Two young brothers from Syria in a refugee camp in the city of Aarsal in Lebanon.

When climate-related disasters such as floods, cyclones, fires or heat waves occur, people with disabilities are almost never included in the crisis plans. When, for example, the alarm sound over an area does not hear deaf or hearing impaired people, and people with intellectual disabilities can not always understand what is happening and how they can take protection. For people with visual impairments and those who are blind, it is often almost impossible to get to safety yourself. Information provided via radio is not available to many groups, and information provided in writing - for example via posters or brochures is inaccessible to others. There is also often a lack of information in sign language or in audio-interpreted format.

In a disaster situation, it is often difficult for everyone to get food, water, care and information. For people with disabilities, it is even more difficult. It can also be difficult to get a wheelchair, aids and vital medicines during a quick evacuation. For many, it is simply not possible to escape to safety. Many are forced to remain in danger and vulnerability and in total dependence on others. Studies also show that people with disabilities are at greater risk than others of being exposed to violence in disasters and women and girls with disabilities are particularly vulnerable.

When crisis and disaster plans completely omit people with disabilities, they are left without support and without rescue efforts. The systematic discrimination that people with disabilities face in many places, together with widespread poverty, means that they are often left to their own devices.

What is needed:

Crisis plans that include everyone regardless of disability, where specific support and adaptations are clear. That in the event of a disaster there is preparedness for evacuation, housing, care and medication for people with disabilities.

Crisis plans available for everyone to take part in, regardless of disability.

That information in the event of disasters exists and is disseminated in available formats.

Read more about climate and environment here

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