As climate change-related disasters proliferate around the world, more countries are strengthening their emergency preparedness. But when it comes to evacuating a flood in a wheelchair, managing schizophrenia medication during a hurricane, or accessing life-saving text messages in a wildfire, people with disabilities continue to be left out of the equation.
More than a billion people worldwide live with a disability. According to Oxford University, they are two to four times more likely to die in a disaster. Experts say this is because most countries don’t take the needs of people with disabilities into account while crafting their emergency plans.
However, some progress is being made as more disabled communities are working to raise awareness of their needs and asserting their legal rights for protection during emergencies.
But advocates say more thought needs to put into preparing for major disasters. They add that plans can be improved by bringing people with disabilities to the decision-making table and establishing accountability mechanisms to ensure disaster response is inclusive of all. In this episode, we’ll discuss the challenges facing the disabled community during disasters, what progress is being made in terms of emergency planning, and what still needs to be done.