RI Global: Office of Communications
Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501
On 25 April 2015 at 11:41 local time, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, with an epicenter 8.1 km northwest of the country’s capital, Kathmandu. During and in the aftermath of this horrific event, thousands of people lost their lives, and many are now homeless and injured. Rehabilitation International calls on all agents in the region to consider the unique needs of persons with disabilities affected by this earthquake.
Natural disasters disproportionately affect persons with disabilities, and injuries from disastrous events can lead to lifelong disabilities. Due to this, governments, United Nations agencies, and relief and reconstruction operators must consider the needs of persons with disabilities and the ongoing treatment and rehabilitation required by the injured.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities must be considered in rebuilding plans, in an effort to ensure inclusion, safety, and accessibility for future generations. Recovery efforts must also take into consideration the specific needs of persons with disabilities, including adequate mobility devices, access to food and water, and availability of necessary medication.
“This disastrous event is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of considering the needs of persons with disabilities in emergency efforts,” said RI Secretary General Venus Ilagan. “Evacuation, rehabilitation after emergencies, and many other facets of disaster response and recovery are more difficult for those with disabilities, and local governments, humanitarian groups, and United Nations agencies must support this vulnerable population in all efforts in going forward.”
“Events like the Nepal earthquake remind us of the importance of disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction. If people with disabilities receive adequate preparation for a disaster, they can become an important resource and role model in effectively evacuating a disaster area,” added RI President Jan Monsbakken.
Beyond Nepal, RI calls on States Parties and United Nations agencies to support the development of a series of pilot projects in vulnerable areas throughout the world and provide the necessary supports to people with disabilities to enable them to re-establish their lives. This is important for effective reconstruction, especially in areas recently affected by natural disasters like Nepal.
Lastly, we call on States Parties to ensure people who are injured as a result of natural disasters and man-made conflicts are provided with adequate rehabilitation, enabling their full participation as fully contributing members of society.
RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.
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