A Black man with an amputated leg sits on a hand-operated scooter in Haiti. A Black man and two white women stand around him. One of the women is wearing a blue HI T-shirt

HI advocates for inclusive humanitarian response to earthquake

Humanity & Inclusion is determined to put inclusion and protection at the forefront of its emergency response to ensure that no one is left behind. 

Women, children, aging people and people with disabilities are at even greater risk of harm following the recent Haiti earthquake.

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"Protection is a major source of concern right now," says Anissa Bouachria, Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency area manager. "Anyone who is dependent on care from someone else is more likely to be neglected in times of crisis. At a certain point, people are forced to prioritize their own needs before others’, which means that the needs of children, older people, people with disabilities and women are often forgotten. We're seeing cases where injuries have worsened due to neglect, and acts of violence against these individuals are increasing."

Not only is it more likely for needs to be neglected, but risk of deliberate harm has also risen. Many have lost their homes, leaving them without shelter or safety. With no electricity or running water, women and children must use bathroom facilities that may be isolated and poorly lit, further exposing them to danger. Distribution of food and basic needs are often completed without access for people with disabilities, leaving them without critical supplies.

With expertise in inclusive humanitarian action, Humanity & Inclusion is intentional in making sure that people at risk of neglect receive essential care and that safety measures are taken when planning solutions. In ongoing meetings with other actors and organizations to coordinate humanitarian response, Humanity & Inclusion serves as a key advocate for ensuring that protective measures are taken into consideration.

"It's a transversal topic that should be a priority for anyone intervening in this crisis," Bouachria explains. "It applies when treating the wounded or distributing supplies, and making sure people have a safe way to get home after an emergency evacuation. It also needs to be an integral part of coordinating aid with other actors. For example, if there is a need that we cannot fulfill, we need to know where people can find that service and how."

Image: A man with a disability, whose house was destroyed in the earthquake, visits a rehabilitation center in Les Cayes, Haiti. Copyright: Rawley Crews/HI

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