Disability Inclusive Disaster Recovery – Guidance Note
Disaster, May 13 2020
The impacts of disasters and the related recovery and reconstruction needs of individuals and communities vary. Disaster impacts are dependent on pre-existing conditions and underlying risk factors, including access to resources, the availability of social networks and support, and levels of participation in community life. The more an individual or group is excluded from society, the greater the disaster impact will be. Simply, disasters affect some people more than others and many of those disproportionately affected are persons with disabilities.
An estimated 15 percent of the world’s population have a disability with 100 million people experiencing serious difficulties functioning. A fundamental characteristic of disability is diversity and persons with disabilities represent a broad range of individual lived experiences. This diversity is recognised in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities (CRPD) which describes persons as disabilities as having:
- long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
The CRPD places emphasis on the barriers persons with disabilities face and that contribute to exclusion from all aspects of life. In comparison to persons without disabilities, persons with disabilities frequently experience lower educational attainment; fewer work opportunities and lower household incomes; higher unmet health needs; and higher household expenditure on transportation and health. Barriers also contribute to higher rates of death and injury among persons with disabilities in disasters.1 Disasters also contribute new long-term injuries and increase disability in populations.
Post-disaster recovery presents the opportunity to build back better and to reduce the underlying risk factors that contribute to disproportionate risk. Importantly, recovery and reconstruction processes that actively engage with and include persons with disabilities contribute to building more inclusive and resilient societies for all.