CBM calls on UK Government to include people with disabilities in emergency response

Posted on: Thursday, 11th February, 2016

People with disabilities are among those at greatest risk when disaster strikes, but are often unable to access emergency help, such as shelter, food distribution or medical care.

CBM has called on the Government to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind in emergency response, in a report to the International Development Committee. The committee of MPs is currently examining the Department for International Development's work in emergencies.

Hannah Loryman, CBM UK's Senior Policy Officer said, "At the moment responses to emergencies tend to take a one size fits all approach - and so they don't recognise that different people have different needs. While helping provide emergency relief in Nepal after last year's earthquake, our staff and partners found that lots of people with disabilities were not even aware of what assistance was available to them because the way it was being communicated wasn't accessible, or they couldn't travel the distance required to receive the help. The World Health Organisation estimates that 1 in 7 people lives with some form of disability, with the vast majority of these living in poor countries, so that's a large number of people missing out on life-saving help."

CBM recognises that in recent years the Department for International Development has made some real progress towards making their work more inclusive of people with disabilities, including with the publication of their disability framework in 2014.

"The disability framework is a great first step to including people with disabilities. DFID now needs to make sure that they are putting what they have said they are going to do into practice - including by making sure that partners, such as the UN, who deliver a lot of their humanitarian aid are being inclusive."

In May this year the UN will host the World Humanitarian Summit. CBM is asking the UK Government to play a leading role in championing the inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency responses at this summit and to call for the development of Global Standards and Guidelines on Disability Inclusion. These guidelines would provide a practical way forward and help those responding to emergencies to understand how to include people with disabilities.

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