How to include disability issues in disaster management following floods 2004 in Bangladesh
Persons with Disabilities have difficulty moving, hearing, seeing, communicating and/or learning. They have the same needs and perform the same activities as other members of the community (eating, dressing, working, etc.). However, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) may need specific support related to their disability and their living environment (assistive devices, caregiver, a modified physical environment or equipment) to enable them to participate fully in these daily activities. In an emergency situation, when all members of the community are placed in a vulnerable situation, a PWD may face extra challenges if these special needs are not met.
Handicap International’s experiences in the field of disaster management show clearly that PWD’s face additional barriers in accessing emergency support. In addition, there is greater risk of becoming disabled or increasing a person’s level of disability in disaster-affected communities.
A PWD’s capacity to cope and survive depends on many factors, one of which is reliance on others (i.e. family members, caregivers, neighbours, etc); this support from others is often affected in a crisis situation.