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MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY POST TYPHOON HAIYAN

Super typhoon Haiyan that hit Philippines has left a trail of devastation in its wake. Besides the loss of life and property, it has left an uncountable number of people homeless, injured and exposed to dangers that disasters of such degree usually entail.

On behalf of all the members of Disabled Peopleโ€™s International (DPI) across the world, I express our heartfelt concern for the well-being of our brothers and sisters in Philippines. We join the international community in extending our hand of support in this time of distress.

We would especially like to draw attention of the world to people with disabilities in Philippines. We are getting reports from our friends and colleagues in Philippines about the compounded difficulties being faced by people with disabilities in the affected areas. This reaffirms the efforts towards inclusion of disability in disaster risk reduction. Barely a month back on International Day for Disaster Reduction (13th October), Secretary General of the United Nations has highlighted this in his remarks:

โ€œUnfortunately, most persons with disabilities have never participated in disaster risk management or related planning and decision making processes. They suffer disproportionately high levels of disaster-related mortality and injuries,โ€ said Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

A recent UN survey has shown how people with disabilities are rarely consulted on evacuation or risk reduction measures. This leads to greater number of casualties among people with disabilities during and after any disaster. The slogan โ€œInclusion saves livesโ€ therefore needs to be advocated, imbibed and followed if we want to reduce damage and loss of life that any disaster of such degree causes.

Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrรถm has said that Haiyan tragedy is at par with the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 which led to a revolution in official attitudes towards disaster risk and paved the way for agreement on the world's first-ever global framework for disaster risk reduction, the Hyogo Framework for Action which is about to be replaced. She believes that Haiyan will have a major impact on the discussions now underway on a new global framework for disaster risk reduction.

Therefore, now is the time to collectively ensure that all facets of disaster risk reduction are inclusive of all people, irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, etc.

Let us all join hands and work together to support the people of Philippines as they start rebuilding their lives.

Let us also pledge that we do everything that we possibly can to ensure that disaster risk reduction and management becomes truly inclusive.

Javed Abidi

Chairperson, DPI

Additional Information

Country: Association of South East Asian Nations
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Source: DPI
When: 28/3/2014

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