Greetings from the Pacific Disability Forum(PDF).
The inclusion of persons with disabilities though working in partnership with its representative organisation before, during and after a disaster is vital in ensuring that persons with disabilities are not left behind.
In a recent UNICEF Pacific funded survey conducted by PDF and its member organisation in Fiji, the Fiji Disable People’s Federation (FDPF) after the devastation of TC Winston, highlighted the lack of inclusion of persons with disabilities in Disaster. The survey indicated that out of the 963 persons with disabilities that was assessed only 44 uses evacuation centres while 25% of the surveyed population did not receive any humanitarian aid. Persons with disabilities assessed, indicated the lack of information available on the locations of evacuation centres and humanitarian aid distribution points and for those who had information about the locations of these areas highlighted the lack of accessibility in and around these areas.
These figures have provided the evidence to support advocacy for the long and silence struggles persons with disabilities in the Pacific endure during disasters. It accentuates the need to ensure that evacuation centres, humanitarian aid distribution points and information shared are inclusive and accessible for all persons with disabilities. It highlighted the need for government to set standards and guidelines for communities to adhere to, when building public buildings such as community halls, schools and churches as they are used as evacuation centres and humanitarian aid distribution points in disasters.
Furthermore, access to information is vital in ensuring an effective and efficient Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Management, hence, governments need to develop legislation that will ensure that information disseminated in disasters is accessible and received by all on an equal basis.
While the role of government in these areas is important, it is also critical for other agencies to ensure that their programmes are inclusive of persons with disabilities. Hence, PDF builds partnerships at the regional level with regional organisations and advocate for these regional partnership to be translated into national partnerships, ensuring the participation and involvement of national disabled people’s organisations in all processes of development, implementation and monitoring of programmes and activities organised by these agencies.
PDF reiterates, if approaches and standards in disaster management are to be disability inclusive, the involvement of persons with disabilities representative organisations in all stages of the planning, development, implementation and monitoring processes is inevitable. ‘Nothing about us without us’ is key, in ensuring disability inclusive disaster management.
In this week’s weekly update we have articles on disability inclusive, MOU worth $34000, report focuses on easy mobility, conference to bring pacific island countries together, disable persons did not received humanitarian aid assistance and visually impaired survives Winston.
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