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.

Peru to host World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

LIMA: Lima will host the World Engineering Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction gathering renowned world experts on December 5- 6, 2016.

Organized by the College of Engineers of Peru and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the said conference will contribute to disseminating experts’ experiences on disaster prevention.

Close to 800 engineers —400 of them from overseas— are expected to join the gathering.

The College of Engineers of Peru aims at creating a plan to allow the country to face disasters properly and thus ensure minimum human casualties and material losses.

The Declaration of Lima will be approved within the framework of this international event.

The announcement ceremony saw the participation of Housing and Urbanism Deputy Minister Ricardo Vidal Nuñez, Peru’s College of Engineers Dean Jorge Alva Hurtado and National University of Engineering Professor Emeritus, Engineer Julio Kuroiwa.

Source: andina

Persons with Disabilities at Risk in Conflict, Disaster

NEW YORK: Persons with disabilities face added risks of abandonment, neglect, and do not enjoy equal access to food, health care, and other assistance during conflict, displacement, and reconstruction, CBM, Handicap International, International Disability Alliance, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Human Rights Watch said today, ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23 and 24, 2016, in Istanbul.

An evacuation drill being conducted in Dong Phuoc village, Vietnam. Photo: Guilhem Alandry/doculab/Malteser International/UNISDR

An evacuation drill being conducted in Dong Phuoc village, Vietnam. Photo: Guilhem Alandry/doculab/Malteser International/UNISDR

Governments, donors, and aid agencies are overwhelmed with many competing priorities during conflict and natural disaster. But they need to ensure that the rights and concerns of persons with disabilities are addressed in aid efforts, one aspect of which is to endorse the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which includes guidelines for inclusive humanitarian response. The charter was created by nongovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, and states through an open, transparent process.

“Leaders gathered at the World Humanitarian Summit need to translate commitments on paper into action on the ground, to make sure that one of the most marginalized populations – people with disabilities – get the aid they need and have an equal right to,” said Vladimir Cuk, executive director at the International Disability Alliance. “These commitments are about ensuring that people with disabilities won’t be discriminated against and will be part of planning an inclusive response to crisis situations.”

While many people affected by a crisis need assistance, those with disabilities are especially at risk, the group said. Physical, communication, and other barriers complicate the challenges created by war, natural disasters, and other situations that put people at risk. People with disabilities often have difficulty getting aid because facilities are not accessible and information is not provided in easy-to-understand formats.

More than 1 billion people worldwide, or about 15 percent of the global population, have disabilities, and an estimated 6.7 million people with disabilities are forcibly displaced as a result of persecution and other human rights violations, conflict, and generalized violence. The Women’s Refugee Commission reports that women and girls with disabilities face added risk of sexual violence, but are often excluded from women’s protection and empowerment programs in humanitarian contexts. Children with disabilities are also at risk of abandonment and violence during emergency situations, and yet their particular needs are often not taken into account in aid efforts.

The charter addresses these concerns in five key areas: ensuring that there is no discrimination; providing equal access to humanitarian services; involving people with disabilities and organizations that represent them in the response; developing global guidelines to improve strategies, data collection, and monitoring of inclusion; and encouraging closer collaboration among humanitarian actors and local partners.

More than 160 countries have ratified the UN disability rights treaty. In addition to rights to accessibility, health care, and education, the treaty includes a specific provision that calls on governments to ensure the safety and protection of people with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies.

“With so many conflicts and disasters competing for the headlines, the challenges facing millions of persons with disabilities continue to be invisible,” Cuk said.” Governments, UN agencies, and organizations working in humanitarian emergencies should make certain that people with disabilities are no longer left behind.”

Source: HRW

Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and DRR

HANOI: Between the 16th and 18th of May, the Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. On the second day of the conference, the Hanoi Disabled People’s Organization (DPO Hanoi) and the Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) organized a side event on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction.

The event was attended by 40 participants, including representatives of DPOs in Vietnam, representatives of the Regional UNISDR Office, the Director of Regional UN Women, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Control/ Deputy Chief of the standing office of the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Management of Vietnam, the UNDP Senior Advisor on gender inclusion, and a number of other highly distinguished delegates.

During the event, representatives from Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) shared their concerns about the disadvantages they face in responding to disasters, as well as the particular needs they have during disasters, and the barriers that prevent them from participating fully in disaster risk-reduction activities. In light of these constraints, they used the side event to advocate for increased support to help them participate in local disaster risk-reduction activities. The side event was well received by conference participants. “This is the most tremendous event of the conference,” said the UN Women Technical Advisor. She was joined in her opinion by Ms Pham Thanh Hang from UNISDR, who suggested mainstreaming disability inclusion in the National Strategy for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control as well asin  the implementation plan for the Sendai Framework in Vietnam. DPO and DiDRRN representatives recommended that people with disabilities should be invited to participate in the processes of planning, monitoring, and undertaking the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Mr Nguyen Duc Quang, Deputy Director of the Vietnamese Department of Disaster Prevention and Control, and Deputy Chief of the standing office of the National Committee on Disaster Prevention and Control responded that inviting “representatives of people with disabilities in the Disaster Prevention and Control committees” will be considered “at all levels, especially at the national level.” After the side event, DPO representatives went on to participate in other plenary sessions of the conference in order to advocate for greater attention to disability issues in the final recommendations for gender mainstreaming in the Sendai Framework of Action. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the DPOs and Malteser International on behalf of DiDRRN, the final draft of this paper contained key provisions relating to inclusivity, accessibility, attending to the needs of at risk groups – including people with disabilities – and the principle of universal design.

The collection of disability disaggregated data before and after disasters was clearly mentioned in the paper. In his closing speech, Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development conveyed his appreciation for the active participation of DPO representatives, who contributed to the success of the conference together with other non-disabled stakeholders.

Source: Malteser International

New Book Launched: Disability and Disaster: Exploration and Exchanges

The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University has announced the release of the scholarly work, Disability and Disaster which includes disaster research to the expanding area of disability studies. This edited collection includes writings by international scholars as well as 19 chapters about individuals with disabilities affected by disaster across five different continents.

Book cover page In this collection, the editors, Laura M. Stough and Ilan Kelman, have embraced the call from the disability community to write “nothing about us without us,” while incorporating reflections from scholars studying why certain groups are more vulnerable to disasters than others. In 19 first-hand narratives written by individuals with disabilities and their families, these authors do not label themselves as “victims” of disaster or of disability. Rather, they portray agency and self-reliance. As such, these narratives present a counter-narrative to the assumed vulnerability and weaknesses of individuals with disabilities.

“In Disability and Disaster: Exchanges and Explorations, editors Ilan Kelman and Laura M. Stough have achieved something truly ground-breaking. First, in terms of the academic importance of this work, it adds to the social vulnerability literature and represents the first serious book-length treatment of disability and disaster studies…

Disability and Disaster will shatter many myths and misconceptions that people often hold about persons with disabilities and will help a generation of readers to see these individuals in a much more full, complex, and nuanced light.”  –    Lori Peek, Ph.D., Colorado State University

Ilan Kelman is Reader in Risk, Resilience, and Global Health at University College London, UK and a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Norway.

Laura M. Stough is Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Assistant Director at the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University.

To order this book, visit http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/disability-and-disaster-ilan-kelman/?isb=9781137485991. All royalties will be donated to disaster-related organizations.

Red Cross offers disaster preparedness workshop

The American Red Cross will offer a free disaster preparedness workshop from 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 17 at the Sutton Center Conference Center, 1854 E. Perry St., Port Clinton.

Project Prepare for an Inclusive Community will highlight training for seniors, individuals with developmental disabilities, caretakers and advocates. Workshop participants will adapt best practices in preparedness planning to their own unique situation as they learn to make a plan, build a kit and stay informed.

Training facilitator is Gary Loboschefski, retired American Red Cross emergency program manager for the northwest Ohio region.

To register, call 419-734-1100 or email beth.leggett@redcross.org.

New research explains why disaster law lags behind

While countries have been increasingly moving toward transnational legal norms in areas such as public health, financial stability, and health policy, a new book chapter by Penn Law professor Eric Feldman and his student Chelsea Fish L’16 argues that in the critical area of disaster management these transnational efforts have lagged far behind other fields.

Feldman is the Co-Director of the Center for Asian Law and Fish is a Senior Editor at the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. In addition, this year Feldman is leading a Global Research Seminar titled “Disasters and the Law,” which includes a research trip to Japan, where students will explore legal issues involved with disaster management in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The chapter by Feldman and Fish, forthcoming in Comparative Law and Regulation, edited by David Zaring and Francesca Bignami, explains that two primary factors influence why the area of disaster law has resisted “transnationalization.” First, there is a distinct lack of laws and policies at the national level on which a transnational structure could be built. And second, governments tend to “go it alone” in the area of disaster management. Most nations, they note, manage disasters on an ad hoc basis.

Feldman and Fish use the concept of transnational legal ordering (TLO), from the book Transnational Legal Orders, edited by Terence C. Halliday and Gregory Shaffer, to discuss how disaster law has largely resisted global governance. According to Halliday and Shaffer, a TLO is “a collection of formalized legal norms and associated organizations and actors that authoritatively order the understanding and practice of law across national jurisdictions.” In their research, Feldman and Fish have found that TLOs are most visible when it comes to post-disaster emergency response, and much less visible in other areas — particularly in victim compensation.

“The capacity of human beings to deny, ignore or minimize potentially unpleasant and undesirable experiences is vividly on display in how they approach the possibility of being affected by disasters,” Feldman and Fish write. “Despite Biblical warnings and the regular occurrence of devastating events, we seem content to act as if disasters are always someone else’s problem.”

Feldman and Fish argue that the most well developed TLOs are in the area of disaster response. There are a large number of organizations dedicated to providing humanitarian relief immediately following a disaster (such as the International Red Cross, Oxfam, the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and others), and they play a critical role in providing support for disaster victims in the short term by providing food, clean water, sanitation, and shelter.

But while private aid in recent years has continued to grow, Feldman and Fish note, these organizations are often poorly integrated and suffer from coordination problems. During the international response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for example, poor coordination between the international community and the Haitian government prevented the relief effort from being as comprehensive as it could have been.

When it comes to victim compensation, Feldman and Fish write, “transnational regulatory regimes for compensating victims of natural disasters are largely non-existent.” Individuals are usually not compensated for personal injuries or property losses. Many private insurance policies exclude types of disaster risk, and many individual underestimate the risk of natural disasters and tend to underinsure.

Feldman and Fish explain that the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, and the resulting nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants, demonstrate how the absence of TLOs in the area of disaster preparedness, along with a lack of domestic legal order for managing disasters, resulted in a slow and poorly organized response to the disaster. Little compensation was available for victims of the earthquake and tsunami, save for token payments from a condolence fund and insurance payments from those who happened to have earthquake policies, and those affected by the nuclear disaster had to navigate a complex bureaucracy that provided three separate routes to compensation.

In contrast, the French compensate the victims of natural disasters through “a regularized and inclusive system that socializes risk by spreading the coast of disaster related harms broadly throughout the populace,” Feldman and Fish write. The animating value to this system is solidarity — the Constitution of 1946 “proclaims the solidarity and equality of all French people in bearing the burden resulting from national calamities.” The system disincentivizes the submission of tort claims by providing the alternative of insurance, which is less expensive and socially preferred because of its association with solidarity.

While the U.S. government has generally been disinterested in social solidarity, Feldman and Fish explain, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the government stepped in to enact the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSSSA). The ATSSSA made civil suits against the airlines the exclusive jurisdiction of the Southern District of New York, which streamlined claims processing, insulated the airline industry from devastating liability, and ensured equity among claimants.

In addition, the ATSSSA created the no-fault September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a second route to compensation. Congress protected the airline industry, Feldman and Fish explain, while expressing compassion to the victims and their families, in a way that was deeply rooted in — and justified by — the value of solidarity.

Despite the frequency with which disasters strike, their relative ubiquity, and their border crossing nature, Feldman and Fish write, TLOs have largely failed to materialize, and the human consequences are profound. The Fukushima disaster alone cost over $200 billion, including direct economic losses representing four percent of Japan’s GDP. It is the costliest disaster in history.

But there is hope, Feldman and Fish argue. “The ability of the social solidarity norm to effectively motivate disaster compensation regimes in two countries with such different social and political values is suggestive of its potential to undergird the creation of law and disaster TLOs across a broad spectrum of nations.”

“When that occurs,” they add, “we will know that the predictions of a truly globalized international legal order will have finally proven true.”

Source: Penn Law

India to host Asia Partnership meeting on Disaster Risk Reduction next month

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, UN-ISDR) will host the 2nd ISDR Asia Partnership (IAP) meeting in New Delhi on November 17-19, 2015.

The main focus of the three-day IAP meeting will be to discuss the substantive preparation of the Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), 2016 to be held in New Delhi on November 14-17 next year. The IAP meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss substantive issues related to the implementation of the Sendai framework at the regional, national and local level.

The IAP has been the main consultation forum for the regional platform AMCDRR in Asia. The partnership comprises of a wide range of multi-stakeholder members that includes representatives of national governments mainly Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) focal points/ Sendai Framework focal points), organizations part of the key stakeholders groups, sub-regional inter-governmental organizations, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), bilateral donors, UN and International organizations, civil society organizations, media and so on. The partnership has been an informal multi-stakeholder forum with the role to facilitate implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and the HFA 2005-15 (HFA) and now the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in the Asia region. The IAP launched in 2004 and subsequently expanded in 2007 to act as the support mechanism for the Asia Regional Platform for DRR and has been meeting twice a year.

The fundamental role of the IAP so far has been to support the political leadership of the regional platform through series of Asia Ministerial Conferences (AMC- DRR); to support the biennial progress review of the HFA implementation; and to improve regional coordination and coherence through regional experience sharing. With the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the IAP members have also voiced the need for transformation of the IAP to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework through regional platforms and periodic review of the progress in the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

In order to strengthen disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk, the Sendai frameworks calls on governments and stakeholders to actively engage in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the regional and sub-regional platforms for disaster risk reduction and the thematic platforms in order to forge partnerships, periodically assess progress on implementation and share practice and knowledge on disaster risk-informed policies, programmes and investments, including on development and climate issues, as appropriate, as well as promote the integration of disaster risk management in other relevant sectors.

The 1st Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) after the introduction of the Sendai Framework will be hosted by the Government of India in November 2016. As a follow up from the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference outcome and as a requirement of the Sendai Framework implementation, the intended outcome of the AMCDRR in 2016 will be to ensure a political endorsement of an ‘Asia Regional plan for implementation of the Sendai Framework’. The IAP forum will mainly work as the regional consultation mechanism and provide technical input for the preparation of the AMCDRR 2016 and development of the regional plan.

The AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The event represents a unique opportunity for governments to reaffirm their political commitments in implementation of the HFA. The AMCDRR also serves as a forum for other stakeholders to take a shared responsibility and make actionable commitments towards implementation of DRR. At the same time the conference also provides opportunity for all governments and stakeholders to exchange experiences on successful practices and innovative approaches in reducing and managing disaster risk. So far, countries in Asia in collaboration with UNISDR have organized six AMCDRR conferences since 2005. Previous hosts were Beijing, People’s Republic of China (2005); New Delhi, Republic of India (2007); Kuala Lumpur, Federation of Malaysia (2008); Incheon, Republic of Korea (2010); Yogyakarta, Republic of Indonesia (2012); and Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand (2014).

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan on 14-18 March, 2015 where India was represented by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh. The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience. This requires a shift from standalone disaster management or risk management to more holistic risk resilient development practice. This shift of thinking and action from risk management to disaster risk resilient development requires support of regional and international cooperation and thus need to be incorporated in the architecture and thinking of the regional platforms/ ministerial conferences.

With the above context and aim of setting a future policy direction towards implementation of the Sendai Framework in Asia, the Asia leaders’ meeting will bring together Ministers from the countries that have hosted the AMCDRR during 2005 to 2014, namely People’s Republic of China, Republic of India, Federation of Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Republic of Indonesia, Kingdom of Thailand and also from Mongolia as the host of Asian Ministerial Conference in 2018 and Japan as the host of the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The AMCDRR meeting will be co-chaired by Shri Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs of India as host of the next Asia Ministerial Conference on DRR in 2016 and United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms Margareta Wahlstrom.

‘Knowledge saves lives,’ UN stresses on International Day for Disaster Reduction

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the “indispensable” power of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge in his message on this year’s observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

“Traditional and indigenous knowledge is the indispensable information base for many societies seeking to live in harmony with nature and adapt to disruptive weather events, a warming globe and rising seas,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the International Day.

The Secretary-General recalled a conversation he had earlier in the year with the President of Vanuatu at the opening of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. Vanuatu was at that time being hit hard by Cyclone Pam.

“The force of the storm led to expectations that there would be great loss of life. Thankfully, this was not the case. One reason was that cyclone shelters built in the traditional style from local materials saved many lives,” explained Mr. Ban.

“Resilience is the sum of many such acts of disaster risk reduction at the local level,” said the UN chief, noting in another example that the low-tech local knowledge in Cameroon passed down from generation to generation, helped farmers to cope with drought and protect their crop from pests.

Based on the impacts of climate changes in Arctic, which can expand to all humanity, the Secretary-General said: “Local knowledge of the impacts of urbanization, population growth, eco-system decline and greenhouse gas emissions is especially important in an era when more and more disasters are climate- and weather-related.”

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, said the Secretary-General, underlines how traditional knowledge can complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk management.”

He also said that building resilience to disasters is also a key feature of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, the framework that will guide our efforts to end poverty and promote shared prosperity on a healthy planet by 2030.”

Meanwhile, in her remarks, Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) also mentioned that the Sendai Framework “campaigns for greater cooperation between governments, local authorities, communities and indigenous peoples in the formulation and implementation of policies and standards for natural disaster prevention.”

Ms. Bokova said the agency is committed to the widest possible dissemination of indigenous knowledge to meet the challenges of climate change and natural hazards, especially in remote areas.

The local shelters in Vanuatu had not only protected its people, according to UNESCO, “this traditional and indigenous knowledge also helps to protect the cultural heritage against natural hazards.”

She concluded her statement with calls for expanding on and integrating knowledge and expertise wherever they may be found. “It is the key to building societies that are all the more resilient when they are inclusive.”

Engage Persons with Disabilities in Disaster Risk Reduction Planning: Legarda

PHILIPPINES: In line with this year’s celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (July 17-23), Senator Loren Legarda today urged the government to ensure that persons with disabilities are engaged in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) programs.

Legarda said that aside from ensuring access to government services, persons with disabilities should also be consulted in crafting DRRM plans and involved in disaster preparedness efforts so that their special concerns are addressed.

“Our persons with disabilities are twice more likely to lose their lives or be injured than any other person during disasters. However, their disability does not equate to their inability to contribute significantly to DRRM programs. In fact, they can make significant contributions and so we must tap their knowledge and experience,” she stressed.

A 2013 survey by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) among persons with disabilities revealed that, if a disaster occurs, 80% said they would be unable to evacuate immediately without difficulty, while six percent (6%) said they would not be able to evacuate at all.

Moreover, 71% of the respondents said they do not have any personal disaster protection plan; only 31% always have someone to help them evacuate, while 13% never have anyone to help them.

“As the effects of climate change worsen each year, we should be able to strengthen our DRRM programs and ensure that the concerns of citizens, especially those with special needs such as persons with disabilities, children, women and the elderly, are taken into account,” said Legarda, the UNISDR Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific.

According to the Philippine Information Agency, among the activities for the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week is a Seminar/Training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

“We must continue to know more about the needs of persons living with disabilities. We must know more about their challenges and about their abilities to cope and to take part in disaster risk reduction efforts,” Legarda concluded.