Forum seeks inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster plan

Africa, October 29 2013

NIGERIA: Stakeholders in disaster management have made case for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster plan of Lagos State.

They made the call at a forum held to commemorate this year world disaster day, stating  that persons with disabilities were the most vulnerable during disaster and that efforts must be made to ensure that they get attention during disasters.

General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA, Dr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, while addressing participants at the forum appealed to residents to always assist people with mobility disabilities during emergency situation.

He said the theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Living with Disability and Disasters’, saying that the theme was chosen to alert people to the vulnerability of disabled people during disasters and also to reiterate that their disability is not inability.

According to him, it was necessary to pay special attention to persons with disabilities considering that they were highly vulnerable during emergency cases.

He said, “When a disaster strike, the struggles of persons with disabilities are amplified both during the disaster and aftermath” he said, adding that a quick assistance from the public would go a long way to reduce the impact of the disaster.

“For instance, people with mobility may need assistance leaving a building without elevator. Individual who are blind or who have limited vision may no longer be able to independently use traditional orientation and navigation method. Likewise an individual who is deaf may be trapped somewhere unable to communicate with anyone because the only communication device relies on voice.”

Assistant Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Prisca Okoh said persons with disabilities in the society were very important, saying that during rescue operation, they should be given top priority.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Lagos State Fire Service, Mr. Sunday Adelaja called on government to enact a law for escape route for persons with disabilities in every buildings in Lagos, saying that such plans should be inculcated in the town planning law.

He explained that the state emergency preparedness response plan will be updated and validated to make sure that procedure be put in place to ensure that people with disabilities can evaluate the physical area in a variety of conditions and with or without assistance in consonance with political thrust of the state governor.

Source: World Stage

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