Disability, Disaster and Climate Change

Disability, Disaster and Climate Change

 

India’s 70 million disabled citizens were forgotten while framing the Climate Change policies and progarmmes.  This has led to their: Invisibility in response systems; lack of understanding of consequences of climate change on them;  Exclusion from climate change response efforts; Communication difficulties as  document formats are not accessible for eg., pdf files are not readable by the blind and most documents on the web today are in pdf format. No Braille documents are available, no spoken documents also can be found. In this situation, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) need to understand their own risks in climate change and lead the process to reduce it. 

 

Climate Change is a humanitarian issue, of one promoting equality and justice. Its policies and programmes need to be inclusive. Climate disasters are increasing in frequency disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable. South Asia is one of the most disaster prone regions of the world. Flooding is increasing as is draught. DRR should include awareness and adaption to Climate Change. Today’s investment in DRR would reduce the adverse impact of Climate Change. Of the 66 million people affected in South Asia by climate change (CC)10% as per WHO are persons with disabilities (PWDs). With little access to insurance, low incomes, meagre assets and fragile health disabled have to deal with climate related shocks under highly constrained conditions. CC means that the already precarious situation of many PWDs in India further deteriorate due to their high levels of vulnerability and social exclusion.


Since 2005 SMRC has initiated a global campaign for inclusion of disability in disasters (including climate disasters). The campaign headed by a global advisory task force of members from World Bank, UN, and Universities has worked towards policy change at global-UNCRPD, National-National Disaster Act and local levels -State Relief Code. 
SMRC is the lead consultant for World Bank Study on Disability and Disasters (covering 4 countries and 5 disasters). We also prepared a toolkit on mainstreaming disability in disasters for UNDP (2009).

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