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As one of the world’s climate change hotspots, natural disasters in the form of flooding, cyclones, and drought are a part of everyday life for the people of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to natural hazards due to its geographical location, land characteristics, multiplicity of rivers and the monsoon climate. However, these events hit people living in poverty – and in particular persons with a disability – the hardest of all.
Yet, there is very limited participation of persons with disabilities in disaster management planning and limited awareness and training of emergency response and disaster preparedness staff regarding their needs. As a result, they are mostly excluded from disaster management actions such as risk and capacity assessment, identification, early warning, search, rescue, evacuation, shelters, emergency response, water & sanitation, healthcare, and rehabilitation. For example, deaf people are unable to hear audible early warning signals, evacuation may be difficult or impossible without personal assistance and village disaster shelters may not be accessible as they have steps or are under water following a severe flood. They may also be overlooked in the relief and rebuilding process, and given they have often lost their personal possessions and their means of livelihood this can send persons with disabilities into a spiral of greater poverty and vulnerability that intensifies with every new disaster.
To address this issue, CDD implements disability inclusive disaster response and risk reduction projects and advocates for persons with disabilities and their families to be included in preparedness, response and recovery activities conducted by mainstream disaster management agencies.
CDD’s key disaster and risk reduction activities are as follows:
- Forming self-help groups and increasing their skills on disaster risk reduction, leadership, and rights of the person with disabilities.
- Promoting safe, accessible water and sanitation during disasters.
- Facilitating inclusive community risk assessments and development of risk reduction action plans.
- Technical support to make houses, cluster villages, schools, Local Government buildings, shelters accessible and user friendly for persons with disabilities and all considering disaster risks.
- Facilitate to form Ward Disaster Management Committees (WDMC) which is coordinated by the community including persons with disabilities.
- Strengthening capacity on Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction for WDMCs, Union Parishad Disaster Management Committees, school teachers, students, person with disabilities and their family members, and community people.
- Promotion for implementation of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Dhaka Declaration – 2015, and relevant national & international policies.
- Piloting and promotion of Inclusive Education in Emergency.
- Disaster risk considered and climate resilience alternative livelihood in disaster prone locations.
- Promoting accessible early warning.
- Inclusive humanitarian response and post-disaster rehabilitation.