Rescue in Nepal: Remember the people with disabilities
At this point in time we are mostly familiar with the situation in the Kathmandu Valley. What the situation is in the hardest affected areas in the rural and hilly areas of Nepal is still not clear. What we do know is that villages have been badly affected, people are dead, injured and without shelter. Many areas are probably isolated due to landslides and damaged roads. Getting help to these areas will be challenging and time consuming. The overview we have of the disaster at this point is most likely only the tip of the iceberg for Nepal.
Local partners of the Atlas Alliance in Nepal work in many of the worst affected areas. We are working to get an overview over the situation and will make sure that we follow up and support our Nepalese partners. The Atlas Alliance will have a close dialogue with other Norwegian organisations working in Nepal to ensure that information is share and to assist each other in the work we are doing around Nepal.
People with disabilities are among the most vulnerable
We know that people with disabilities are highly vulnerable in disaster, emergency or conflict situations. They may be left behind if they are not physically able to evacuate, they may not be properly informed of what is going on, they may lose their assistive devices and means of independence, or they may struggle to access shelters, camps, and food distribution sites. Women, children and elderly with disabilities are particularly vulnerable groups.
The Atlas Alliance reminds governments and organisations about the necessity to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities at all stages of disaster management. Consulting local disabled persons’ organisations may be efficient means to ensuring that persons with disabilities are accounted for, included and acknowledged. The Atlas Alliance will to facilitate contact with our partner organisations in Nepal, as soon as this is possible.
Disasters exacerbate both poverty and disability . People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by disasters, and disasters can result in both increased numbers of people with disabilities from both direct and indirect happenings, during and after the disaster.