Leaving no one behind – achieving disability-inclusive disaster risk management

Natural hazard events can occur in any country, at any time. At present, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal are dealing with the aftermath of some of the worst monsoon flooding in years, which has left more than 1,200 people dead and millions homeless. At the same time, North America and the Caribbean region are responding to some of the strongest hurricanes on record.

At such times of peril, individual and community resilience is at a premium, and we cannot afford to miss opportunities to bolster that resilience wherever possible. This is especially true with respect to certain groups – such as persons with disabilities – who have historically been disproportionately affected by natural hazards.

While some strides have been made in addressing the needs of persons with different disabilities in response and recovery efforts, fewer efforts are aimed at incorporating lessons into long-term disaster and climate risk management at a systemic and/or policy level.

More needs to be done to create disability inclusion for all – a topic that will be discussed during a Facebook Live chat on September 19 at 10 am ET: facebook.com/worldbank

Such approaches are necessary, not only to ensure that persons with disabilities are not disproportionately impacted by natural hazards, but because disability-inclusive disaster risk management (DRM) interventions have the potential to benefit all members of society. For this to happen though, there must be more coordination and cross-sector synergies between the DRM and disability communities.

On August 30, a group of experts met at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., to discuss the inclusion of persons with disabilities in disaster risk management (DRM). This consultation was the first of its kind for the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). Led by the Disability Stakeholder Group, the impact and influence of bringing together hundreds of persons with disabilities, and representatives disability organizations worldwide resulted in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction leading as the most disability-inclusive international mainstream framework, which clearly sets out how implementers operationalize disability issues.

Aligning with the Sendai Framework priorities for disaster risk reduction, the participants to the experts’ convening identified several issues on disability-inclusive DRM, including:

  • Recognize theUN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as one of the key instruments for DRM. In particular, Article 11 states that “parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”
  • Effective and meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all DRM initiatives, ensuring empowerment in becoming key implementation stakeholders, as defined in theSendai Framework Section V 36(a)(iii). By coordinating efforts between disaster risk management experts and disability experts, we are supporting cross-learning and capacity development between the two sectors.
  • Consider intersectionality between different at-risk groups, and avoid “one-size-fits-all” solutions as a recipe for inclusion. Disability does not form a homogenous group, but rather brings together a wide range of people that cuts across all other at-risk groups (gender, poor households, children, ethnic minorities etc.). This necessitates bringing a set of unique expertise and capacities that should be recognized and used to enhance community resilience.
  • Consider the interrelationship between the different international and national policies that contribute to DRM, and strengthen the inclusion and capacity of persons with disabilities.
  • Consider all risks, and take measures to mitigate structural, social and economic risks that directly affect persons with disabilities.
  • Develop a data collection system that considers age, gender, and disability disaggregated data. (See, for example, the Washington City Group short set of questions.) Additionally, identify a set of voluntary indicators that can be used by governments and other stakeholders to track their progress in including persons with disabilities in their disaster risk management programs.
  • Ensure that recommendations address different levels of engagement, from community level up to larger systemic levels.
  • Ensure that DRM actions across the Sendai Framework are undertaken with a comprehensive approach to accessibility and universal design. For example, community consultations to prepare disaster response plans, early warning systems, disaster response mechanisms, and recovery efforts, will all benefit from being accessible to persons with disabilities and others.

The World Bank Group, through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), is committed to supporting country implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The rich discussion has provided a clear outline for the development of a report on disability-inclusive DRM as we shape the recommendations and actions for including persons with disabilities in the World Bank and GDFRR’s disaster risk management investments.

By Charlotte Mcclain-Nhlapo
Source: World Bank

Abilities Expo Emergency Preparedness Workshop to Provide Vital Disaster Strategies for Boston’s Disability Community

BOSTON: People with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded vets and healthcare professionals attending Abilities Expo (#AbilitiesExpo) on September 8-10, 2017 at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center are eagerly anticipating the “Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities” workshop on September 8 at 2:30pm, as well as the opportunity to discover the latest products, education and fun for all ages.

Emergency Checklist and hand with ballpoint pen“It’s not just that we provide a forum that showcases essential technology to bridge the gap between ability and disability,” said David Korse, president and CEO of Abilities Expo. “The Expo is always new and exciting with a host of all-inclusive, adaptive activities.”

Admission to Abilities Expo is free and show hours are Friday and Saturday 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday 11 am to 4 pm.

Complimentary loaner scooters, wheelchair repair and sign language interpreters are also be available during show hours.

Abilities Meet Up Zone
The Abilities Meet Up Zone is a dedicated area on the show floor where attendees can interact with both peers and experts. Many workshop and event presenters stop by the Zone to engage one-on-one with attendees. And kids love the face painting and photo booth.

Latest Products and Services
Attendees experience cutting-edge products and services for people with a wide range of disabilities. They will find mobility products, devices for people with developmental disabilities, medical equipment, home accessories, essential services, low-cost daily living aids, products for people with sensory impairments and more. The Assistive Technology Showcase features cutting-edge AT for people to experience hands-on.

Relevant Workshops
A series of compelling workshops on emergency preparedness, travel, horse therapy, therapeutic cannabis, pediatric therapies and more are offered free-of-charge to all attendees. On September 10, caregivers are welcome for sessions on stress relief, better sleep and future planning. CEU-earning seminars for physical therapists, occupational therapists and disability professionals are available on September 8.

Adaptive Sports, Dancing, Assistance Animals and More
Abilities Expo engages and entertains. Attendees can let loose with daily dance demos led by Chelsie Hill and the Rollettes, enjoy service dog demos and test their skills with adaptive sports like the NEW wheelchair boarding, golf, power soccer and handcycling. They will also get to meet WCMX athlete Jerry Diaz.

For more information, visit http://www.abilities.com/boston.

 

UNISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

CANCUN: The fifth session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will take place 22-26 May, 2017 in Cancun, Mexico.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is co-organized the Permanent Mission of Mexico and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The conference will focus on how to reduce loss of life and economic losses from disasters caused by manmade and natural hazards. Several thousand representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society are expected to attend the event, which comes at a time when millions are food insecure because of a very strong El Niño.

The conference aims to encourage countries and others to go beyond disaster management to addressing the risks that lead to greater losses from disasters, including poverty, unplanned urbanization, environmental degradation and poor risk governance.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR), which was established in 2007 and takes place every two years, provides the opportunity for exchanging information, discussing the latest developments and knowledge, and building partnerships across sectors. It aims to improve DRR implementation through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders, and build resilience. The UNISDR is also the secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

For more information, go to www.unisdr.org/conferences/2017/globalplatform/en

Seminar on Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in Disaster Management

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA: The National Institute of Speech & Hearing (NISH) will conduct the 19th online International Disability Awareness Seminar in association with the Directorate of Social Justice on May 20.

The seminar, which will deal with the topic of ‘Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in disaster management,’ will be handled by Joe John George, State Project Officer, UNDP project, State Emergency Operation Centre under the State Disaster Management Authority.

According to a press note, the live seminar will commence on the NISH campus at 10.30 a.m. It will be simultaneously presented at all the District Child Protection Units (DCPU) offices via the Internet. The two- and-a-half-hour programme in Malayalam would be to reach out to larger numbers of parents and caregivers, who were not aware of the implications of disability, the organisers said.

Those interested in participating in the programme from the DCPU offices in each district may contact the Child Protection Units Officer nearest to them and avail themselves of the telephonic registration process.

Participants from the district could contact the District Child Protection officers at 0471-2345121, 8281128237. They could also attend from NISH after telephonic registration by contacting NISH in 0471- 3066658.

Those interested may also register on the website http://nish.ac.in/others/ news/551. Participants should either have a personal computer, laptop or tablet along with reliable high speed Internet connectivity, webcam and microphone.

Source: Hindu

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India to host international conference on disaster risk reduction

NEW DELHI: India will host the Asian ministerial conference for disaster risk reduction next month which will focus on partnership with governments and stakeholders to imbibe the practices in the region’s development narrative.

This is the first AMCDRR after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRRR), adopted at the third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015. It will set the direction of Sendai Framework implementation in the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the conference that will be held here on November 3-5 in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The conference aims at transforming the commitments of governments and stakeholders during the Sendai Conference into national and local action.

The hosting of the conference re-affirms India’s commitment to the cause of disaster risk reduction, an official statement said.

Established in 2005, AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organised by different Asian countries and the UNISDR.

So far, six AMCDRR conferences have been organised. India had also hosted the second AMCDRR in New Delhi in 2007. India’s commitment to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is evident from the fact that it became one of the first countries to align its National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) with SFDRRR.

The meet will focus on collaboration, consultation and partnership with governments and stakeholders to mainstream DRR in the region’s development narrative.

The conference will adopt the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ endorsed by the Asian countries. It will also consolidate the political commitment of governments towards preventing and reducing risk as well as strengthening resilience in the form of a political declaration, the statement said.

Source: Mumbaimirror

Disaster assistance available for older adults and people with disabilities in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.VA.: Older adults and people with disabilities affected by the June 22-29 severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides may be eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA has made it a priority to reach everyone who needs help – including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, older adults and people with limited English proficiency – to make sure all survivors’ needs are met.

Accommodating survivors

  • Every disaster survivor has equal access to disaster information and assistance.
  • All FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are physically accessible.
  • All DRCs offer effective communication options, including captioned phones, iPads with video remote interpreting and on-site American Sign Language interpreters upon request.
  • Both Braille and large print FEMA documents are available.
  • If you need an accommodation or assistance due to a disability, please notify FEMA staff at the time of registration or anytime during the assistance process.

If you experienced losses or damage as a result of the recent storms you have several ways to register for disaster assistance:

  • You can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by telephone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services, you should call 800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST seven days a week.
  • Or you can visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). You can locate the center closest to you by visiting http://go.usa.gov/x3NnJ or downloading the FEMA App to your mobile device to:
    • Apply for disaster assistance
    • Get directions to the nearest DRC
    • Get weather alerts
    • Subscribe to disaster safety tips

Will disaster assistance change my benefits?

  • If you receive Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), or Aid to Families with Dependent Children, you will not lose your benefits and they will not be cut if you receive disaster aid from the state or FEMA.
  • For more information on Social Security, contact the Social Security Administration by calling 800-772-1213 or by visiting SocialSecurity.gov.

How will I know what I am eligible for?

  • If you live in one of the 12 West Virginia counties approved for federal Individual Assistance as a result of the storms that occurred June 22-29 you may be eligible for disaster aid.
  • The only way to know if you are eligible – and what you are eligible for – is to apply.

Are there any videos available?

Additional information on West Virginia’s disaster recovery can be found by visiting fema.gov/disaster/4273,

FEMA ensures Texans with disabilities, access needs can register for disaster aid

AUSTIN, TEXAS: Texans who have a disability or access need and sustained damage or losses from the May storms and flooding may face challenges, but registering for federal aid shouldn’t be one of them.

Video sign language interpretation service (Photo credit: socmin.lt)“We reach out to the entire community,” said Federal Coordinating Officer William J. Doran III, who is in charge of FEMA’s operations in Texas. “And FEMA works with our partners to make sure that everybody can get access to disaster assistance information, programs and registration.”

FEMA’s disaster recovery centers – locations where survivors can meet face-to-face with various agencies and service providers – accommodate the needs of the entire community, including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.

The centers meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards; have assistive technology equipment that allows disaster survivors to use amplified telephones; phones that display text; amplified listening devices for people with hearing disabilities; and magnifiers for people with vision disabilities.

Some disaster recovery centers use a video relay service available to people who use American Sign Language, allowing them to communicate through an interpreter when registering for disaster assistance. Others make an ASL translator available at the center. In addition, language applications are used for translation.

Federal assistance is available to eligible individuals and households in Austin, Bastrop, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Eastland, Fort Bend, Grimes, Hidalgo, Hood, Lee, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Stephens, Travis, Tyler, Waller and Washington counties. To find the nearest disaster recovery center, go online to asd.fema.gov/inter/locator.

In addition to accommodating people with disabilities or access needs, FEMA also reaches out to people with limited English proficiency by providing multilingual operators, making printed literature available in multiple languages and having translators available in the field. Printed materials are available in accessible formats such as Braille and large print.

Texans can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

For more information on the Texas recovery, visit the disaster webpage for the May storms at fema.gov/disaster/4272; or visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management website at txdps.state.tx.us/dem. Follow us on Twitter @femaregion6.

OCD brings disaster risk reduction and management advocacy to persons with disabilities

BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES: The Office of Civil Defense – Cordillera Regional Office, in continuously expanding the reach of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management advocacy in the region,  brought  the Basic DRRM Training to the Federation of Person with Disability at the City Social Welfare and Development Office here.

The two – day (June 9 and 10) training  included an overview of the national DRRM framework as mandated by Republic Act 10121; the four thematic areas of DRRM – Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery,  and briefers on understanding weather, geological, landslides and subsidence hazards.

The 40 participants were also given an overview on Disaster Risk Assessment and demonstrations on basic first aid and handling injured victims, as well as a demonstration on earthquake preparedness and on how to conduct an earthquake drill.

OCD Information Officer Franzes Ivy Carasi informed that the activity is part of their DRRM advocacy for the public sector. This was the first training that involved persons with disabilities.

Earlier this year, OCD conducted a similar training for public school teachers in Baguio and in Ifugao, Carasi said. They also conducted a DRRM for Kids advocacy in a public elementary school in Baguio and in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Meantime, Carasi  enjoined the public to participate in  the  2nd Quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) set this June 22   by doing the “Duck, Cover and Hold”  preparedness drill.