Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction

There are an estimated 3.5 million refugees and internally displaced people living with a disability worldwide. For every one person killed in a disaster, another three are injured or left with a permanent disability, and many face long-term psychosocial impairments. Despite this, persons with disabilities are often invisible and excluded during times of disasters and humanitarian emergencies. More often than not, they face difficulties in accessing emergency support and essential services such as food distribution, medical care, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) requires in Article 11 that States ensure plans for disaster preparedness and response are inclusive of, and accessible to, persons with disabilities. In particular, the UNCRPD highlights the importance of disability inclusive disaster management through international cooperation.

Resources in this section focus on how to ensure persons with disabilities access their right to inclusion in emergency responses. They include position papers, policy and practical guidance and case studies on inclusive disaster risk reduction and humanitarian practices.

See also: Fragile States and conflict affected areas, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Nossal-CBM (2017) Disability Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction Website with links to full report and policy brief in PDF

Through surveying nearly 650 households in Vanuatu to examine their experiences following Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015, the project generated much-needed recommendations for agencies and communities, in a region frequently affected by natural disaster. Some key findings included: -78% of adults with disabilities need crutches or other assistive device. -74% of women with disabilities had problems accessing evacuation centres compared to 50% of men with disabilities. Some key recommendations included: -Mainstream disability inclusion throughout DRR. -Leave no one behind, by ensuring households and communities are prepared to safely evacuate all community members including people with disabilities along with any assistive device they may use. -Strengthen the organisational capacity of all actors by training staff and through establishing effective partnerships with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations.

UNICEF (2017) Including children with disabilities in humanitarian action: General guidance Website page with links to the resource in pdf (accessible formats and other languages also availabl

UNICEF, together with Handicap International, developed new guidance consisting of this General guidance document plus sector specific booklets. The booklets give practical examples (based on literature as well as UNICEF field staff experiences) and checklists of how to include children and adolescents with dis¬abilities across various humanitarian contexts (rapid-onset disasters, slow-onset disasters, health emergencies, forced displacement, and armed conflict).

Samant Raja D and Narasimhan N (2013) Inclusive disaster and emergency management for persons with disabilities: A review of needs, challenges, effective policies, and practices PDF

This report, prepared by the Centre for Internet and Society provides an overview of the needs of persons with disabilities during disasters and emergencies, describes the challenges they face at different stages of the response and recovery process, and offers examples of effective practices and initiatives. Examples and case studies of inclusive humanitarian action are provided across the different stages of the disaster management cycle: • Mitigation/risk reduction and prevention stage – undertaking an accessibility audit of multipurpose cyclone shelters in India. • Preparedness stage – creating a registry of persons needing assistance during disasters in Japan (challenges associated with such registries are also considered). • Response stage – using SMS technology for emergency messaging, and provision of accessible transport for evacuation during floods. • Recovery and reconstruction stages – integrating accessibility into re-building.

CBM International Inclusive post-disaster reconstruction: Building back safe and accessible for all 16 minimum requirements for building accessible shelters PDF

This resource outlines 16 minimum requirements to build back better, safer and accessible shelters. The 16 requirements address four components of the chain of movement from a user perspective: 1. How to reach an area, site or structure 2. How to enter the structure and its parts 3.How to circulate inside the structure 4. How to use the structure and its facilities. There are technical guidelines and specifications. There are also some visual examples.

Human Rights Watch; 2017 Greece: Refugees with Disabilities Overlooked, Underserved Website

An article on the existing situation of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Greece camps, which contains snippets from interviews conducted through four months of winter. Interviews were conducted with refugees, UNCHR officials, camp managers and representatives from aid organisations. This article covers the lack of identification of people with disabilities and the lack of services. Services such as psychosocial, mobility and other medical were non-existent or inaccessible despite the amount of money being provided by the European Commission and the EU. There is also a distinct lack of accessibility around the camp including in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene areas. Extreme temperatures and inappropriate housing are increasing the rates of mental distress and psychosocial disabilities. This article can further develop our understanding of the challenges that exist in a refugee camp and recognising the need to ensure that camps are safe and accessible.

Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation (2013) Fiji Disability Inclusive Community Based Disaster Risk Management Toolkit PDF 3.72MB

This resource provides a comprehensive overview of why and how to include people with disabilities in all aspects of DRR from planning to search and rescue in Fiji. Topics include: 1. Factors underlying inclusive approach 2. Vulnerability and capacity assessments 3. Community risk management planning 4. Inclusive early warning systems 5. Search and rescue and first aid task forces 6. Shelters 7. Household and self preparedness 8. Stockpiling

Age and Disability Consortium (2015) Minimum standards for age and disability inclusion in humanitarian PDF (3.5 MB)

These standards have been developed by a consortium of organisations to guide best practice in inclusive humanitarian action. They are particularly relevant to technical teams, cluster coordinators and other stakeholders who are designing or appraising sector-specific humanitarian interventions relating to shelter, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, education, health and protection. The standards are currently published as a pilot version and will be further developed based on feedback from humanitarian stakeholders.

World Humanitarian Summit (2016) Charter on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action HTML with embedded PDF and downloadable PDF (60 KB)

This charter sets out five core principles required in order to make humanitarian actions more inclusive of persons with disabilities. These include: 1. Ensuring non-discrimination 2. Fostering participation of persons with disabilities 3. Developing inclusive policies and guidelines 4. Fostering an inclusive response and services 5. Improving cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors The charter serves as a guide to the design and appraisal of disability inclusive policies and actions relating to all phases of humanitarian action. The charter was developed by over 70 humanitarian stakeholders including states, UN agencies, NGOs and organisations of persons with disabilities, and was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016. It has since been endorsed by over 100 states and other stakeholders, including Australia.

UN Human Rights Council (2016) Human Rights Council Resolution: The rights of persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies HTML with link to PDF (140 KB)

This Resolution calls on governments and other humanitarian actors to take effective measures to ensure protection and participation of persons with disabilities at all stages of situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disaster. In particular, it serves as a useful reference point on the high-level principles that should be followed when implementing Article 11 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

CBM Australia (2012) End the Cycle Indepth- Severe Weather (video)

This two minute video clip, presented by Elena Down in Auslan and spoken language, explains how persons with disabilities can be particularly at risk in severe weather events. It makes the case for disability inclusive disaster preparedness and the need for specific training for persons with disabilities to play an active role in preparing for disasters. Includes links to a fact sheet.

UNHCR (2011) Working with persons with disabilities in forced displacement (PDF 373 KB)

This guidance note can be utilised by program implementers to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are met without discrimination. This note provides both donors and program staff with guidance on a range of issues to consider in meeting these responsibilities. The resource includes key considerations and for each, a list of succinct recommended practical actions. This guidance note will need to be further supplemented with practical resources to guide program implementers with strategies to make the recommendations a reality.

Disability inclusion DRR Network for Asia and Pacific (DiDRRN) (2013) Disability and DRR policy primer (PDF 102 KB)

The DiDRRN was formed by key international NGO and CSO partners committed to the advocacy and implementation of inclusive DRR policy and practice. This policy piece provides an introduction to disability and disability risk reduction in the context of key policy initiatives and international frameworks. The document could be used to inform briefings to government or policy makers on the international and policy context. This one page brief will need to be supplemented by additional resources to support transition from policy to practice.

Inter-Agency Steering Committee (2007) IASC guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings (PDF 831 KB)

These guidelines outline the mental health and psychosocial impacts of emergencies and provide recommendations for entry points for addressing the needs and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. This information will be beneficial for both donors, policy and program staff as a guide for recommendations across all of the key sectors in emergency settings, including education, community mobilisation and support, health services and emergency shelters.

Humanity & Inclusion Source: Key list resources on Disability and Humanitarian (updated regularly)

This key list presents information about the inclusion of people with disabilities in humanitarian response, disaster risk management and post-conflict settings. The resources featured include general information, regional and national case studies, program guidance and training manuals covering emergencies, displacement, protection, victim assistance and climate change and disability. This is a very broad topic area and also includes resources addressing a range of topic areas in emergencies (including health, mental health and psychosocial support, functional rehabilitation, education, livelihoods, social inclusion).

Light for the World (2013) All Inclusive! How to include people with disabilities in humanitarian action (PDF 693 KB)

This operational guide is designed for development programs in the DRR sector. Aimed at programming staff, it provides strategies for the inclusion of persons with disabilities and outlines minimum standards specific to prevention and preparedness, rescue and response, recovery and reconstruction. The case studies and practical checklists are valuable for both policy makers and program staff.

Humanity & Inclusion(2005) How to include disability issues in disaster management following the 2004 floods in Bangladesh (PDF 3 MB)

This resource guide provides detailed programming advice demonstrated through a practical case study. It covers strategies to guide preparedness, immediate response and mitigation. Whilst this practical resource is primarily targeted toward implementers, it also enables policy makers to see a practical case study example to support implementation of policy.

WHO (2013) Disability and emergency risk management for health (PDF 1.1 MB)

This guidance note is intended primarily for health actors working in emergency and disaster risk management at local, national or international level, and in governmental or non-governmental agencies. It is a short, practical guide that suggests actions across emergency risk management including risk assessment, prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and reconstruction. The document outlines the minimum steps health actors should take to ensure that specific support is available for people with disabilities when needed and to ensure that disability is included in the development and implementation of general health actions in all emergency contexts.

CBM (2012) Inclusion made easy: a quick program guide to disability and development. Part B: Disaster management chapter (PDF 649, Word 153 KB)

This chapter provides brief programming guidance for including persons with disabilities in disaster management, including during preparedness, response and reconstruction activities. It also includes case studies and checklists. This resource has been designed for implementing partners, particularly program managers/officers within international development agencies. It is also useful for organisations involved in disaster management program review. (Note: Part A of this resource provides an overview of disability inclusive development principles).

Handicap International and Atlas Logistique (2009) Accessibility for all in an emergency context (PDF 1.2 MB)

This very practical resource covers all forms of accessibility- including communications, temporary infrastructure, WASH and distribution. A good primer to highlight and raise awareness about accessibility issues that arise in emergency situations, which must be addressed in policy and operationalised in programming to ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded or left behind.

UNISDR (2012) Yogyakarta declaration on disaster risk reduction in Asia and the Pacific 2012: Annex 3 statement of Individuals and organisations concerned with disability (PDF 52 KB)

This declaration proves valuable for donors as a guide in understanding the commitments and recommendations that have been endorsed by relevant partner governments in the Asia and Pacific region. Specifically, Annex 3 provides a frame of reference for donors, outlining the commitments made toward the inclusion of persons with disabilities. This document therefore acts as a guide on the commitments to incorporate the recommendations of this declaration into policies, strategies, and action plans of Government, as appropriate. This declaration also proves valuable for international organisations, regional inter-governmental bodies and civil society organisations to understand the detail of commitments made by governments to facilitate and monitor the implementation of these recommendations.

Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, (2009) Education in emergencies: Including everyone. INEE pocket guide to inclusive education (PDF 397 KB)

This guide focuses on rapid onset emergency response, but is also relevant to all emergency settings and phases. It is a practical resource for governments, donors and implementing partners to inform policy development to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in education in emergencies. It also provides a framework to support indicator development and monitoring and evaluation.

Humanity & Inclusion (2005) Disability checklist for emergency response (PDF 790 KB)

This checklist provides practical and simple guidelines about general protection and inclusion principles for persons with disabilities or people with injuries in emergency situations. It gives recommendations to be utilised by program managers and implementers in relation to: health, food and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; protection; psychosocial support; reconstruction and shelter; livelihoods; and education. The succinct nature of these checklists is beneficial for donors in building their own knowledge and as a tool for recommendations and monitoring with partner organisations.

The Sphere Project (2010) The Sphere handbook: Humanitarian charter and minimum standards in humanitarian response

This Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards in life-saving areas of humanitarian response. These standards are designed to be utilised by anyone funding, managing or working in the humanitarian sector as the resources included within cover both minimum standards and practical guidance. Disability inclusion is outlined as an essential cross cutting issue throughout the key sectors of protection, WASH, food security, shelter and health. Whilst highlighting the importance of active involvement of persons with disabilities, this resource does not provide in depth practical or policy guidance on how to implement these approaches. (Note: this publication predates the WHO and World Bank World report on disability, and therefore under-represents global statistics of people with disabilities).

Humanity & Inclusion (2009) Guidelines for creating barrier free emergency shelters (PDF 709 KB)

An important guide for both policy and program staff, this resource outlines the steps required to create an environment that is barrier free. This includes addressing community attitudes and barriers in the built environment, as well as project management considerations such as budget allocation. This resource can be supplemented with more technical accessible design guidelines found in the accessible infrastructure section of this site.

DiDRRN (2013) Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (updated regularly)

DiDRRN is a consortium of like-minded disabled people's organisations (DPOs) and 'mainstream' and disability-focused development and relief organisations. The network aims to secure the active participation, and meaningful contribution, of people with disability in DRR policy and practice post-2015. They work closely with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and support the implementation of Article 11, on risk and humanitarian emergencies, of the UNCRPD. The website hosts a collection of key resources and provides a forum to communicate key events and relevant media messages.

CBM (2013) Disability inclusive disaster risk management (PDF 603 KB)

This resource presents voices from the field to act as case studies, which can be utilized by implementing partners and donors alike to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities in the disaster management cycle in a meaningful way. Eleven good practices of Disability inclusive DRR experiences have been gathered, that show practical examples of turning policy into practice to ensure persons with disabilities are active participants in various DRR interventions.

Searle l (2016) Inclusive humanitarian action: A study into HPA agency practice in the Nepal earthquake response HTML with link to PDF (no Word version available) (PDF 2.47 MB)

Commissioned by the Humanitarian Partnership Agreement (HPA) agencies, this paper explores how humanitarian practice can be impartial and inclusive of people who face barriers in accessing humanitarian assistance, including persons with disabilities. In response to the Nepal earthquake, the humanitarian practice of five agencies (CARE, Caritas, Oxfam, Plan International and World Vision) is explored across the areas of data disaggregation, alignment with minimum standards, intersectionality, accountability mechanisms, perceived challenges and solutions, and consistency of practice across international federations. Concluding comments highlight that despite strong organisational commitment to inclusion, systematic input into planning and decision making by marginalised groups must be prioritised to strengthen inclusion.

CBM Australia (2012) End the Cycle- Kazols story (video)

This three minute video clip is presented by Kazol Rekha, a young woman living in a village in a flood-prone area of Bangladesh. Kazol is paralysed after an accident severed her spinal cord. She tells about her role on the Disaster Preparedness Committee, making sure persons with disabilities are not forgotten when disaster strikes. This clip shows how a range of interventions can empower persons with disabilities to be active agents of change and challenge community perceptions and stigma. Following this film, Kazol Rekha went on to share her experiences at a high level UN meeting on disability inclusive disaster preparedness.

Washington Group on Disability Statistics technical presentation

Jennifer H. Madans Ph.D., Associate Director for Science, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and Mitchell Loeb,
Health Scientist, NCHS from the secretariat of the Washington Group on Disability Statistics delivered a technical session
on how to use the Washington Group questions in monitoring data systems and how to disaggregate data by disability
followed by a question and answer session at the University of Melbourne on Thursday, 30 April 2015. The presentation
was organised by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Presentation from the Washington Group on Disability Statistics
Picture of a woman from the Philippines supported on her father’s back. She has cerebral palsy. There is destroyed houses and debris in the background.

Photo: Chelsea Huggett, 2013

Maria* 21, and her father had to flee Typhoon Haiyan as it hit their small town in Iliolo province, the Philippines. Maria has cerebral palsy and was carried by her father on his shoulders, in order to reach safety when their house was destroyed. (*pseudonym used) Copyright: CBM