Current Affairs

Disability inclusive DRR guideline, handbook and mobile app to be developed

Disability

Kathmandu, 6 October (2020) – Atullya Foundation, in association with USAID’s Tayar Nepal, on Tuesday organized an inception workshop on ‘Public Safety for Persons with Disability (PSPD)’ webinar. The project aims to develop useful informative materials on disaster risk reduction and management especially for People with Disabilities (PWDs).

Welcoming the participants from the government and non-government sector at the webinar, Pallav Pant, Chairperson at Atullya Foundation highlighted the need to prepare DRR materials for PWDs for their safety. Referring to the World Health Organization (WHO), he stated that PWDs are three times vulnerable during a disaster so they should be kept in priority at all levels.

He said, “socially and economically backward PWDs are highly vulnerable to disaster therefore they should be included in every planning and program implementation related to DRR,” adding, “This will enable them to put forth their voices to respective authorities to address disability issues relating to the disaster.”

He further mentioned that the one-year project is going to prepare ‘Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) guideline’  along with DIDRR Handbook   and an app that provides facilities for PWDs especially those who are hearing impaired to be able to contact the first responders.

By the end of the project, PWDs will have an increased level of awareness on DIDRR through the training, simulation exercise, reference materials and apps prepared by the project.

Participants from the government and non-government sector stressed the need to prepare a holistic approach to address this issue. They stated that currently the disaster risk mitigation approach is being implemented in their way without coordinating with others.

Murari Wasti, Chief of National Emergency Operation Center, claimed that DIDRR is a crosscutting issue therefore all concerned sectors should have coordination with each other while implementing any programs relating to DRRM. “We will be able to get the desired result if we apply a holistic and bottom-top approach in DRRM’.

Referring to the federal system in the country he stressed the need to make the local level accountable and sensitive to implement DIDRR programs by integrating all programs implemented by various sectors on their own.

“Disabled friendly physical infrastructure and access to information technology is the need of the hour for DIDRR,” Mr. Wasti added.

Likewise, Nirajan Ghimire, under-secretary, Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens (MoWCSC) clarified the constitutional provision to safeguard the rights of PWDs and shared the activities ministry is proceeding this fiscal year.

Ghimire who is also a focal person of disaster management at MoWCSC said, “Our constitution has guaranteed all citizens including PWDs to live a dignified life and have equal access to public services and facilities therefore we are always committed to ensuring their constitutional rights.”

He said that the ministry is taking the initiation of building disabled-friendly public property by developing ministry as the best example of disabled-friendly infrastructure. He further mentioned that the ministry was going to revise the provision of ID cards for PWDs and prepare a database on PWDs for the first time. The government has already allocated budget to the federal and local levels for this purpose, Mr. Ghimire added.

Dr. Birendra Raj  Pokharel, Executive Director, Action on Disability Rights, and Development-Nepal said that the guidelines and other reference materials being prepared by the project should follow international legal and policy framework.

Dr. Pokharel said, “Nepal is a signatory of UN Convention related to disaster and disability, hence Nepal’s acts, policies, and other guidelines should be based on these international frameworks.”

Highlighting on the importance of incorporating suggestions and experiences of PWDs while preparing a disability-inclusive DRRM program, he said, “Nothing about us, without us”.

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DRR Expert Raju Thapa of the project, expressed the need of structural functional approach of all DIDRR stakeholders to to increase the public safety of PWDs under the concept of ‘Public Safety for All’.

He further explained that the project is going to focus on capacity building of all stakeholders such as regulatory bodies, service providers and consumers among others though training, developing handbook and guidelines on DIDRR. He also highlighted the proposed life saving mobile app named ‘Bachau’ for PWDs during the project implementation period.

During the webinar, guests and other participants wished for the successful completion of the project. Similarly, they also urged the project team to thoroughly consult with the concerned stakeholders especially PWDs, activists, and organizations working in the disability and disaster sector before proceeding  with the above mentioned activities for the desired result.

The Executive Chief of NDRRMA, who was scheduled to be a Chief Guest of the program couldn’t participate in the program due to the emergency meeting held in the Parliamentary Committee.  However, he sent the message showing his commitment to work in the field of DIDRR wishing all the best for the program and overall project.

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