Wednesday, October 9, 2013

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

This Sunday, October 13th, marks International Disaster Risk Reduction Day. This year's theme focuses on 'Individuals with Disabilities and Disasters.' Given the approximately 1 billion people around the world that live with some form of disability, talking about how to better incorporate and account for them in the planning process is a critical and often overlooked aspect of disaster preparedness.

It's surprising that given the focus on building resilience at a local level as a means of reducing a community's dependence on outside resources following an event, that accounting for people with disabilities within community preparedness, or disaster risk reduction is not talked about more.

A recent example of this was the number of the aging population and individuals with mobility challenges stuck in high rises throughout the metro New York City area following Sandy. No plans were in place to ensure wellness checks were conducted or that needed food, medication, etc. would get to those who needed it. The result was an undisclosed number of people stuck without food, water, power, medications, or information about what was happening and few people realizing it. This oversight became life threatening when temperatures dropped and a nor'easter blew through Metro NYC on Nov 7th.

Help raise awareness around this important aspect of preparedness by lending your voice and going to: to learn more about how you can get the word out about this important aspect of community resilience.

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