Our award-winning reporting has moved

Context provides news and analysis on three of the world’s most critical issues:

climate change, the impact of technology on society, and inclusive economies.

Hurricane Matthew - disability inclusion

by CBM | gordonrattray | CBM International
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 20:44 GMT

Damage in Chardonnières, southwest Haiti ©CBM

Image Caption and Rights Information

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Rapid Needs Assessment

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in southwestern Haiti early on Tuesday 4 October, centred some 250 miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince, causing major floods and forcing thousands to flee. Reports say up to 90% of some areas having been destroyed. Communications are still difficult with some of the hardest-hit towns yet to be reached by land.

CBM and partners

CBM staff and partners in potentially affected areas were sent warning and safety and security info specific to tropical hurricanes - what to do and not to do before, during and after such events. We are now conducting Rapid Needs Assessments, and planning a response that will address urgent needs and ensure long-term recovery.

What is CBM doing to respond?

CBM will respond to best ensure that persons with disabilities (including older people and other more at-risk people) and their families can access mainstream relief and recovery services and, simultaneously, that any specific needs are met.
Response activities have started through identification of persons with disabilities and setting up a database for referral. Partners in Haiti have initiated a coordination mechanism and are ready once it will be possible to access the affected area to start activities.
CBM is still assessing the situation but detailed response strategy is likely to address:
  • Immediate - Water, food, clothing, towels, sheets, mattress
  • Short term - Transitional shelters
  • Medium term - Installation of roof, reconstruction of houses washed away, revitalisation of small shops and gardens, schools
  • Long term - Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and accessibility initiatives that will build resilience for everyone

Disability and emergencies

The WHO estimates 15% of the global population live with disability. In any emergency or disaster, people who live with some form of disability are disproportionally affected. Reasons for this include inaccessibility of warning messages and emergency shelters, loss and damage of assistive devices, disruption of support networks and increased difficulty in accessing basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care services).

At the same time, emergencies can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective medical services.