Relief organisations launch Disability Inclusive DRR Network Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

23/10/2012

Relief organisations launch Disability Inclusive DRR Network

People with disabilities should have voice in disaster prevention

On Monday, Malteser International, ASB, CBM and Handicap International launched a new consortium, the Disability Inclusive DRR Network.

On Monday, Malteser International, ASB, CBM and Handicap International launched a new consortium, the Disability Inclusive DRR Network.

Cologne/Yogyakarta. Four international humanitarian aid organisations are joining forces to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in policies concerning disaster risk reduction (DRR). On Monday, Malteser International, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), CBM and Handicap International launched a new consortium, the Disability Inclusive DRR Network, during the fifth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, taking place this week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The organisations call for the inclusion of the needs and experiences of persons with disabilities in disaster prevention and risk reduction efforts, thus making disaster-prone communities more resilient. To achieve this, the group works to empower persons with disabilities and ensure their active participation in the policy-making process.

“Persons with disabilities remain a high-risk group when it comes to natural disasters”, says Roland Hansen, head of the Asia department at Malteser International. “A large proportion of the casualties during and after a disaster are disabled persons and elderly people with impairments. That’s why it’s so important to involve persons with disabilities in planning for disasters, both at the community level and in national and international policies”.

During the pre-conference network launch event, persons with disabilities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Fiji presented their experiences during disasters, highlighting that disability increases risks for all population groups – including those that are already vulnerable, such as children and the elderly. They also emphasized the need to use the already existing capacities within the community of persons with disabilities. The event was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The network will work together with other civil society organisations and Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) in the Asian continent to conduct surveys on the impact of disasters on the lives of persons with disabilities and their caregivers, compile good practices and lessons learned from disaster risk reduction measures in the region, and provide capacity building to DPOs. The group is open to other organisations working on DRR or disability in Asia. It is supported by Germany’s Relief Coalition (ADH), among others.