As the world marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd December, Handicap International alerts on the fact that a large majority of people with disabilities living in countries affected by a crisis still feel excluded from humanitarian response.
A humanitarian crisis can take many forms - earthquakes, floods, tsunami or conflict. They often strike without warning and almost always affect people who are already desperately poor and vulnerable. Yet, as Handicap International’s ‘Disability in humanitarian context’ report shockingly highlights, 75% of disabled people caught in a humanitarian crisis believe that they do not have adequate access to essential, basic assistance such as water, shelter, food or health.
“We know from experience that during crises, people with disabilities and injuries are often disproportionately affected and struggle to access the support they need” explains Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Handicap International UK.
“There are many different reasons for this, including a lack of information on the services available, lack of services being able to answer their specific needs or difficulties in accessing services that are too far away or not accessible”
Currently Handicap International teams are responding to different humanitarian crisis all over the world, such as in Syria, Iraq, Haiti, South Sudan or Yemen. “In a crisis, it is important to ensure that no one is left behind. This is why our teams are doing everything they can to identify vulnerable and disabled people and make sure that they have access to life-saving and practical help”.
During crises, Handicap International sets up Disability and Vulnerability focal points which are temporary flexible structures (e.g.: a tent or shelter) where vulnerable people know they can find the help they need. Mobile teams also go out in camps or within the community to identify vulnerable and disabled people to ensure that they can access aid and are not forgotten.
- Expert available for interviews.
- The report ‘Disability in humanitarian context’ is available to download here (pdf, 3.5MB)
Marlene Sigonney, Handicap International UK
Mob: +44(0)7508 810 520
About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is an independent charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.