Webinar: Global Disaster Disability Initiatives

audio version (opens in a new tab)


As long-time readers of my blog might have learned, I am interested in learning new things. On September 9, 2021, I attended a webinar hosted by the

Pacific ADA Center.

The webinar was part of the Pacific ADA Center’s Emergency Management webinar series. The webinar was entitled

“Global Disability Leadership Before, During and After Disasters”.

I could find presentation materials, but not the presentation recording, at the event archive above. The presentation focused primarily on global disability initiatives, including disaster management. In this blog post, I will summarize what I learned.

Disasters Overview

The speaker was from the

World Institute on Disability.

The focus was on global emergency management initiatives with involvement by people with disabilities. The frequency of disasters has increased during the past 50 years. According to the presenter, people with disabilities are 2 to 4 times more likely to be injured during a disaster. This is partly because of accessibility issues. On the positive side, the number of deaths from disasters have decreased during the 50-year time period. The presenter then transitioned to discuss global disability initiatives.

Global Disability Initiatives

The United Nations

“Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

was mentioned early in the presentation. The CRPD was established in 2006. Over 150 nations have signed onto the CRPD. However, the United States has not. Additional relevant material was also covered by the presenter.

The presenter also discussed other current disability efforts from the United Nations. This includes inclusive disability strategy and a 5-year strategy for meeting disability-related goals. The World Institute on Disability has undertaken an effort to focus on disability-led organizations to ensure disaster resources helpful to people with disabilities are provided where and when they are needed. A disability-led organization in the U.S. focused on disaster strategy is the

Partnership For Inclusive Disaster Strategies.

I will now focus on the question-and-answer segment.

Question and Answer Session

In the question-and-answer period, there was a question about whether there are sufficient disability laws in the U.S. The presenter answered that disability laws are decades old. The presenter stated that helping people with disabilities during disasters is still an area requiring improvement and work on a national level. Institutionalization is also a disability-related national issue in the United States. Bottom line: full inclusion of people with disabilities regarding disasters is a work in progress nationwide.

Questions for Readers

What do you think is the most important consideration to best accommodate people with disabilities before, during and after disasters? I will return next week with another article.

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