Disability group seeks better disaster planning

The head of the Pacific Disability Forum in Fiji says recent natural disasters have highlighted the need for aid agencies to consider how they help people with disabilities during emergencies.

Setareki Macanawai says stories of how some disabled people have struggled during cyclones, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis were shared at a recent regional conference in Fiji.

He said accessibility to evacuation centres, safe transportation and good communication were vital in caring for everybody during emergencies.

“We at Pacific Disability Forum are quite pleased at being able to connect with these humanitarian actors and our governments and the NGOs on how we can consider, which is what we are developing at the moment, a regional strategy to address persons with disabilities in disaster preparedness and of course response and rehabilitation.”

Mr Macanawai said aid agencies often come into the region in a rush with good intentions but they need to respond in ways that are inclusive of people with disabilities.

Source: RNZ, 29 January 2018


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