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An elderly lady from drought stricken Kenya.

Disasters and Emergencies

When disaster strikes, the most vulnerable are most at risk. In the chaos of the devastation, people with disabilities are often among the worst affected and the last to receive help.

Disability and disasters

People with disabilities are up to four times more likely to lose their lives as a result of a natural disaster. During a crisis, they often cannot escape quickly from danger, miss out on warnings, and lack access to emergency aid in the aftermath.

Assistive devices like glasses, wheelchairs or crutches, which are vital to a person’s independence, can become lost or damaged. People with disabilities are also more likely to live in areas prone to climate-related disasters because they are more likely to be poor.

For every person who dies during a disaster, around three people sustain an injury – many leading to long-term disabilities.  The fear, trauma, and loss that many people experience can result in long-term mental health problems. 

A crumpled car sits on top of some metal.

“In my community we face floods, landslides, earthquakes, and fire. I think people with disabilities are most vulnerable in disasters or any humanitarian emergency. So it’s vital for people with disabilities to engage in the disaster preparedness activities in order to maintain independence and cope with the aftermath.”

Sujan Parajuli, from the Balefi Integrated Disability Society, Nepal

Our Work

Over the next decade, the number of people affected by disasters and emergencies is expected to treble for multiple reasons, including climate change. Our work with local partners planning ahead in disaster-prone areas to protect people with disabilities will be needed more than ever.

CBM UK supports people with disabilities and communities to recover and build resilience:

  • Immediately following a disaster, our emergency response specialists and local partners work to find people with disabilities who have been affected. We meet their immediate needs of food, water, shelter, and healthcare.
  • We remain in the affected area after the initial emergency response to develop long-term programmes that help rebuild, restore, and reclaim what was lost.
  • We work with communities and organisations to ensure people with disabilities are involved in planning an inclusive response if disaster strikes.
  • We drawn on our own experience to train other organisations to ensure that people with disabilities are included in their own responses to disaster and emergencies.

Our impact

Together, we are supporting people with disabilites in times of crisis and climate-induced disasters and supporting communities to rebuild for the future.

A woman holds up a child. They are stood in front of a wooden building.
people accessed disability-inclusive emergency relief
A woman with beads around her neck sits down and smiles.

Donate now

Together, we can support people with disabilities during a disaster or emergency. Join us today and provide a lifeline for the most vulnerable in a crisis.