The Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has highlighted the need for stronger measures to guarantee the inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster risk management activities across the 28 EU member states.
Studies on disaster risk management reveal that people with disabilities are often overlooked throughout both natural and human-influenced disasters, even though they are generally more exposed during conflicts and misplacement. People with disabilities across the world stated in a United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) global survey that they are rarely consulted about their needs, and only 20% could evacuate immediately without difficulty in an emergency situation.
Ms Evika Silina, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Latvia emphasized the importance of a European inclusive disaster risk management. She said: “In a world of a changing climate and increased natural and manmade hazards, investment in disaster risk management is critical. I hope that our discussions this week will provide further guidance to the EU on the topic in regards to persons with disabilities.”
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), in its articles 11 and 322, requires that persons with disabilities benefit from and participate in disaster relief, emergency response and disaster risk reduction strategies. The new proposals on inclusion will be put forward during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March.
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