On May 20th Super Cyclone Amphan passed through Bangladesh, leaving behind devastation in the coastal south west region of the country. Preliminary findings from the Needs Assessment Working Group indicate that over 2 million people have been affected.
CBM in partnership with the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) and ADD International conducted a rapid needs assessment in the districts of Satkhira, Patuakhali and Bagerhat from May 23-25, conducting interviews with 161 of the most at-risk individuals in the affected regions along with key informant interviews.
The purpose of the RNA was to assess both how well persons with disabilities and other at risk groups were included in preparedness measures and also generate initial data regarding impact and identify unmet needs to inform inclusive response programming. This report highlights the findings from the RNA and provides practical recommendations to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities in preparedness and response measures.
Persons with disabilities have the right to be included in humanitarian preparedness measures and access humanitarian assistance, which is appropriate for their needs, however are frequently left behind in situations of crisis as relief and recovery efforts are not inclusive.
The rapid needs assessment indicates that while gains have been made to make preparedness efforts more inclusive, such as engagement of organizations of persons with disabilities in disaster management committees and awareness raising in the community, some early warning systems and evacuation measures are still inaccessible for underrepresented and invisible groups such as persons with hearing impairments and persons with intellectual disabilities. Inclusive preparedness systems are essential for saving lives in times of crisis.
Initial findings from the assessment highlight the needs for a multi-sectoral inclusive response, targeting those who are at the highest risk. Food security and livelihood remained a top priority among those interviewed, with over three quarters of respondents stating that they had less than one weeks supply of food or cash to purchase food and over half reporting that their livelihoods had been lost due to the cyclone and opportunities to earn a living was very limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Any response efforts must ensure that persons with disabilities are included not just as passive recipients of aid but also as active participants in decision making which affects their lives. Active engagement with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in both preparedness planning and response is essential for this. Sex, age and disability disaggregated data needs to be collected to inform appropriate response planning. Barriers that prevent persons with disabilities and other at-risk groups from accessing humanitarian assistance must be analysed and removed. Humanitarian assistance must consider specific measures are put in place to ensure persons with disabilities access humanitarian assistance on an equal basis with others and must consider the specific requirements of persons with disabilities.