NDMA seeks Kerala’s help to make disability-inclusive DRR
Asia-Pacific, Disaster, July 28 2017
KOLLAM: It was a special occasion for Kerala when it became the first state to launch a disaster preparedness training program for persons with disabilities. That was in May 2016. A year after, the state is again in the limelight.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which is in the process of chalking out guidelines for training persons with disabilities on survival skills in times of natural disasters and other emergency situations, has decided to seek the help of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) in preparing it.
Meanwhile, Kerala SDMA says it is gearing up to launch district-level training programmes for persons with disabilities in the state. Around 200 such people from each district will be covered under this. “Yes, it’ a proud moment for us. We were the first state to roll out a disaster preparedness training programme for persons with disabilities. We had also released a handbook mentioning the training module and other related information. It might be because of this that NDMA has asked us to join the panel which will prepare a national-level guideline,” says Joe John George, state project officer, UNDP project, SDMA.
“At the state level, we were planning to launch the training program in a month. Earlier we had categorised persons with disabilities in into four broad categories: vision, hearing, mobility and intellectual disabilities. As per the plan, 50 people who fall under each category in a district will be trained. Thus a total of 200 people at the district level and 2,800 at the state level will be given training in first phase.”
According to SDMA officials, by keeping in mind persons with disabilities the handbook as well as the training materials have been remodelled to appeal to the respective categories. In the case of vision disability, the officials say the entire material has been reprinted in Braille and for the speech and hearing impaired, sign language-based training materials have been prepared.
“For people with vision disabilities, with the help of the Kerala Federation of the Blind, we have converted the materials into DAISY format. Through this, people with vision disabilities can share the materials among Whatsapp groups and other platforms. As providing training to intellectually impaired ones is technically impossible we have decided to train their caregivers. To ensure a comprehensive reach of the said programme we had earlier asked local bodies to carry out a mapping of persons with disabilities in their respective areas,” says an SDMA officer.
“One of the core principles of disaster management is, ‘leave no one behind,’” says Joe. “Thus we can’t exclude persons with disabilities from the disaster preparedness programs. Indeed they are the ones who need more attention than the abled.” According to Joe, the materials prepared for persons with disabilities will be shared with the NDMA if needed.