Disability Rights Promotion International expresses its solidarity with our partner, the National Federation for the Disabled (NFDN), as well as all Nepali people, including and in particular people with disabilities and their allies, in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that have recently rocked the country.
We have received word from the families of NFDN that many members of the federation have been injured, displaced, or killed in this tragedy. Our partner has aptly noted that in most disaster situations, including earthquakes, people with disabilities are vulnerable and at a higher risk – and women with disabilities even more so. In the current situation they have let us know that they are receiving information from different sources about the vulnerable situation of people with disabilities in the earthquake affected area and giving priority to women with disabilities. NFDN has also let us know they are working with government and stakeholders to get the persons with disabilities access to relief and rescue as much as possible.
Sadly, according to the information collected to day we have been informed that approximately twenty people with disabilities including two children have been found dead. More than two hundred people with disabilities are injured and approximately more than 500 of their families have had their household collapse. For updated information please see the NFDN website: http://www.nfdn.org.np/
Given this serious situation, our partner has let us know that what is needed is safe shelter, clothing, accessible toilets, sanitary materials, food, and medicine. Long term support will also be needed, such as rehabilitation, income generating programs, empowerment programs, as well assistance with the reconstruction of homes, long-term medical treatment, assistive devices, counselling, and advocacy to ensure the government takes into account the needs of people with disabilities.
In the context of this very critical situation, NFDN has asked that all stakeholders, individuals and government agencies who are involved in the rescue efforts and providing relief packages and medical treatment to the affected people to ensure the needs of people with disabilities are a priority. Similarly they have asked that all types of media encourage rescue and relief teams to consider people with disabilities in particular.
DRPI echoes and amplifies this call to prioritize the needs of people with disabilities in general, and women and children with disabilities in particular, in the wake of this disaster.