CBM launches world-first emergency response app

Stories | August 18, 2017

On 19 August, 2017, CBM launched a potentially life-saving app to help humanitarian workers ensure people with disabilities are not left behind during a disaster.

Senior Program Advisor at CBM Australia, David Brown said the Humanitarian Hands-on Tool (HHoT) had the power to save lives during the most chaotic and high pressure moments following a disaster or emergency.

“People with disabilities are among those who are worst affected in a disaster or emergency. They’re among those most likely to be missing from camps and evacuation centres and may have been abandoned during the panic as people fled to safety,” David said.

“The HHoT app offers simple one-page guidelines to assist humanitarian workers on the ground in taking a step back from the injuries, desperate thirst and hunger and other pressing needs around them and take a more strategic view of the situation – which is really difficult to do when you’re in the thick of the crisis.

“The app specifically looks at how field workers can incorporate disability inclusive thinking into their humanitarian action on the ground to ensure those most vulnerable people with disabilities are not left behind or forgotten.”

David said, “The HHoT app aims to help agencies working in the field fill a gap of how to implement globally supported policies such as those outlined in international policy frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals.”

How the HHoT works

The first few days after a major emergency are crucial, according to David.

“I’ve been involved in many emergency responses such as the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 and I’ve seen first-hand situations where there was nothing to guide the hundreds of workers and well-meaning organisations in meeting the needs of the most forgotten – people with disability,” David said.

“The HHoT is practical, it’s easily accessible in real time and will be a great help to all those who are working in an emergency context.”

While the app is primarily designed to ensure people with disabilities are included in humanitarian efforts it will also be valuable in ensuring other vulnerable and often-marginalised groups – such older people, children, and pregnant women – are not forgotten. The app can be used with or without internet or mobile connection. If used offline, it is updated automatically on reconnection.

The app is available for use or download to any mobile device from August 19 at www.cbm.org/hhot

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