The capacity of persons with disabilities has been inappropriately judged due to the lack of common understanding on disability. Although the number of persons with disability is significantly increasing with continuing road accidents, disasters or major illnesses, they are still struggling to be considered in most development works including in disaster risk reduction. Persons with disabilities were often left behind in emergency situation. In fact, persons with disabilities are 2 to 4 times more likely to die in case of a disaster as seen from the East Japan earthquake (UNESCAP 2012).
Considering this urgency, ASB Indonesia & the Philippines makes serious efforts to ensure that the necessities of persons with disability are being appropriately addressed in disaster risk reduction. Besides involving persons with disability in activities at grass root level, ASB is also promoting Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) involvement in disaster risk reduction-related policy development and implementation. In collaboration with Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN), ASB organised disability-inclusion sessions at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016. Supported by Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH), ASB invited key persons to speak about disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction during the event which was held in New Delhi, India, on 2 – 5 November 2016. There were Mrs. Nurul Saadah, Director of Advocacy Center for Women and Children with Disability (SAPDA) Indonesia, and Mr. Aloysius Cañete, founder of Cebu Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (CDiDRRN) from the Philippines sharing good practices from both countries in the sessions.
Mrs. Saadah and Mr. Cañete highlighted success stories of DPOs’ involvement in disaster risk reduction practices, both in local and national level. Evidences they brought from the fields showed that disability-inclusion in disaster risk reduction is neither complicated nor technical. Mr. Cañete stressed good practices of bridging collaboration between DPOs and government, as the main actor of disaster risk reduction. Mrs. Saadah accentuated DPOs’ leadership role in disaster risk reduction practices. She emphasized that persons with disability have the capacities to take active role to contribute to building community resilience. What needs to be provided are equal opportunities and enabling environment. Encouraged by the AMCDRR 2016 outcome document, the Delhi Declaration and the Asia Regional Plan for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework, persons with disability are ready to make meaningful contribution in strengthening community resilience towards disaster.
Disability-inclusion might still be an unfamiliar term for disaster risk reduction actors as well as disaster risk reduction to DPOs. However, the urgency of bringing disability-inclusion in disaster risk reduction into real action is increasing significantly as calamities are continuing. No one is to be left behind in disaster because every life is counted.
(Rizma Kristiana/edit: Melina Margaretha)