Humanity and Inclusion (HI) has responded to most of the world’s worst natural disasters in recent memory: from the earthquakes in Nepal and Haiti, to typhoons in the Philippines, and the tsunamis that struck Indonesia. While many organizations offer humanitarian assistance during natural disasters, HI’s emergency teams prioritize helping those most often left behind, people with disabilities and people with newly acquired, disabling injuries such as amputations and spinal cord injuries.
Due to their lack of mobility and isolation, people with disabilities are often not able to access locations where they might get help, like emergency health clinics or food and water distribution sites. To ensure people with disabilities and disabling injuries can get the help they need, our emergency teams travel from home to home and search out temporary shelters and displacement camps to find those in need.
In addition to providing more traditional types of emergency aid, HI works with local and international physical and occupational therapists to provide people with disabling conditions with rehabilitative care following surgeries and for the long term as they recover. This may include physical therapy, the provision of assistive devices like wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, and eventually help gaining independence through employment or education.
In countries prone to frequent natural disasters like Haiti and the Philippines, HI works with communities to include people with disabilities in disaster preparedness. For example, when planning early warning systems, provisions must be made to alert people who are blind or deaf. When people with disabilities are empowered to take part in planning and implementing disaster risk reduction policies, they are more likely to avoid harm and receive aid more quickly when the next disaster strikes.