Reducing the impact of disasters on people with disabilities

Natural disasters are a regular and increasing occurrence in our world due to changes in climate. CBM partners with local organisations, who have links to affected communities, and are able to respond quickly to the sudden and often catastrophic impacts of a natural disaster.

Natural disasters can change landscapes and impact entire regions and communities beyond recognition. For people with disabilities and other at-risk groups, their situation can be much more devastating as they are often forgotten and left behind when a disaster strikes. Disaster risk reduction is also important in regions where conflict has displaced large numbers of people.

Our progress

CBM works in many countries that experience regular disasters. These may be weather-related or linked to existing earthquake and volcanic fault lines. Real commitments to include the most vulnerable people in disaster preparation and relief efforts are now part of international agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals

The people we help

People with disabilities and other at-risk groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and children are often excluded from disaster preparation or forgotten in community planning. When disaster strikes, it is harder for them to get to shelters and safe areas due to physical barriers as well as a lack of information in accessible forms.

The poorer the setting, the more devastating the impact on vulnerable people, especially people with disabilities.

Community development

CBM sees disaster risk reduction as a vital aspect of community-based development. It is important that people in local communities understand what to do at a time of disaster, and to ensure that people with disabilities are included in those plans.

Empowering people with disabilities

In order to build resilience, CBM and our partners extend resources to the most at-risk groups. This means supporting disabled peoples organisations, self-help groups and setting up partnerships to benefit the whole community.

We also encourage people with disabilities to assist with evacuation drills and disaster awareness-raising campaigns in their community.

When these different elements are in place, people with disabilities are empowered, the risk to vulnerable people is reduced and the whole community benefits from being more informed and prepared in the event of a disaster.

Stories from the field

Gershon promotes disability inclusive disaster risk reduction in his village

Gershon is a 40-year-old farmer who has always worked on the land. He doesn’t talk much about the reason why he has, in his words, a “bad leg”, which makes getting around slower and harder. 

How we can reduce the impact of disasters on people with disabilities

Close to 200 million people globally are affected by natural disasters each year, and with ever-changing climates this is increasing. Everyone deserves to have equal access to safety during disasters, yet people with disabilities are often the worst affected when a disaster strikes.

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