As the weather warms up this spring and summer, the threat of hurricanes and typhoons increases in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During hurricane and typhoon season, Handicap International teams working in coastal and island nations are on alert should they need to launch an emergency response to storm devastation. In the past two years we’ve provided humanitarian aid, emergency housing, and special support to people with disabilities and injuries following severe storms in Haiti, Cuba, and the Philippines.
Currently, our teams in the Philippines are preparing for a potential emergency with Typhoon Hagupit.
Handicap International also works in storm-prone location to ensure that everyone, including people with disabilities, can reach safety before hurricanes strike. As part of our disaster-risk reduction programs in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, we work with local and national government organizations, community groups, and individuals to ensure that vulnerable communities have emergency plans in place.
In particular we ensure that people with disabilities and other marginalized community members are included in emergency preparedness trainings and evacuation plans. People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable during natural disasters because those with physical impairments may need support to escape quickly and those with sensory and intellectual impairments might not be aware that danger is approaching.
Our disaster-risk reduction programs work: In October 2014, a cyclone hit India’s north-east Orissa region, an area where Handicap International a runs a disaster-risk reduction program, and about 30 people were killed. In 1999, before Handicap International started its program, a similar storm in the same region killed more than 10,000 people.