Disaster Management Public Service

Fire Safety for Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

By Pallav Pant, Nepal

Nepal, a beautiful country situated in Asia was recently covered by different media around the world due to the massive earthquake. Earthquake is not only one natural phenomenon.  Since time immemorial, Nepal has witnessed increasing numbers of casualties and damages due to various types of natural and human induced disasters such as floods, landslides, fires, epidemics, GLOFs, thunderbolts, earthquake and so on. This makes Nepal one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. Epidemics, floods, landslides, fires are the recurrent phenomena and earthquake is the most intensive disaster. All these disasters kill hundreds of people and cause heavy damage to physical properties worth millions of rupees every year. Gorkha Earthquake 2015 alone killed nearly nine thousand people and caused economic loss equivalent to seven billion dollars”. (Nepal Disaster report ,2015). Following the massive earthquake and its big damages we are still feeling not safe due to the  recurring more than 4 magnitude aftershocks more than 450 times till date . According to a 2008 report, more than 10% of the world’s 35 million displaced persons who fled civil conflict, war or natural disasters live with disabilities (WCRWC 2008). In every crisis situation most vulnerable people especially People with Disability (PWD) can be neglected and have very less access of basic needs. Many assert that marginalized social groups, such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities, are most affected by disasters (UNHCR). Disability “Person with disabilities includes those who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full with others”(UNCRPD)  In Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which was ratified by Nepal on 7th May, 2010 whose Article 11 clearly mention about : Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.(UNCRPD 2006).

With the earthquake Nepal too went on through the catastrophic situation. That earthquake didn’t only destroyed infrastructure, killed people but change the living situation of people those who were able were too change to disable. Able people were in chaos, unstable and felt unsafe and tried to balance their life by moving to safe place. Households comprising only the elderly or people living with disabilities (PWD) are more vulnerable. It is therefore necessary to facilitate and monitor the progress of recovery of these groups. (PDNA, 2015)

According to world disability report 2011 (WHO/World Bank, 2011), 15 out of each 100 people are living with some kind of disabilities in the world .Most of them are living in under developed country. 2011 census give data about 1.94% of total population are living with disability (CBS 2011) .But the different organization working to for the rights of PWD claims that around 30 million people are living with disability in Nepal .With this situation natural disaster Nepal is very fragile nation. “Nepal is one of the world’s disaster-prone countries. Geophysical and socio-economic conditions in the country have made her vulnerable to various types of natural disasters-flooding, landslides, fire, earthquakes, gales, hailstorms, lightning, the bursting of glacier lakes, drought, epidemics, avalanches, and so on.” (Chhetri, 2001).With following this situation the most marginalized people suffered more ‘The general citizens’ rights to housing and shelter, right to food and right to property have been severely impacted due the massive earthquake. Each class, community and gender of the society altogether has been affected from nightmare caused due the massive earthquake. Among the affected, marginalized class and community, elderly citizens, pregnant women and women in natal period, children and persons with disabilities, inmates including the weaker section of society had to bear severe shocks.(NHRC,2015).

With this base Program Scenario of “Developing a framework for Inclusive Disaster Management in Nepal” was design which main objective was to sensitize the government agency and stakeholders about inclusiveness in disaster .People with disabilities are often forgotten during disaster management activities and especially during emergency response, despite being amongst the most vulnerable in a community.

After I attainted this one month long program. I plan to do tangible change in my society in DiDRR and fire safety issues. In 2018 myself  with help of my organization we targeted to aware 1200 youth (per month 100) about disability and fire safety.

Being a Person with disability we still have many barriers but I took the challenge to work in different sector that generally Nepali DPOs don’t work. With my leadership we conducted

5 program since January 2018 that is directly linked with The disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DiDRR). More program are designed and ready for execution.

After the Leadership program I was more motivated and start to work in new sector that will help more to vulnerable people like me. As far as I know this type of program very new for Nepal’s context.

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