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Emergency Preparedness for Disabled People

stephanie426stephanie426 Moderator Posts: 38 Moderator
10 Comments 5 Awesomes Photogenic Name Dropper
As Atlantic Hurricane Season is upon us, I am beginning to feel weary, or, better put, the gloom that has been upon us all year seems to be getting heavier.

We have already been through so much as a country and as a world, but the Disability Community specifically has taken a higher toll. Disabled people are more likely to be impacted by COVID, whether it be from actually contracting coronavirus or from losing the services and supports we need such as in home attendant services. Disabled people of color are more likely to be killed by police. And now, with hurricane season here, I am reminded that disabled people are 2-4 times more likely to die or suffer a critical injury than people without disabilities during a natural disaster. Agencies that provide disaster planning and relief services do not always plan for us, and as a result, we die at significantly higher rates. That is scary. 

A few years ago I was part of a disability led disaster relief team that went to Puerto Rico to help disabled Puerto Rican's impacted by Hurricane Maria through an organization called Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies. I arrived in Puerto Rico one month after the hurricane hit, and yet when I went into townships I still found MANY disabled people who desperately needed help but had not received any relief or assistance from FEMA, the Red Cross, or any other organization. Many also did not have basic survival supplies, such as clean water. 

I think that disaster survival requires disaster planning that involves disabled people at every level, and I also believe that we need to do more to help prepare disabled individuals for disasters because if no one comes to help you (and believe me, for many, no one will come for a long time) then you need to know the basics to survive. 

What do you do to prepare for disasters? Do you do anything at all? Do you have any concerns about safety and survival during disasters? 

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