Before 2018, the idea of Climate Change, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management for persons with disabilities was not something that I had ever thought of as childhood disabilities advocate or as a mother of a child with a Cerebral Palsy disability.
Contact with the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism for the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Jamaica Project
completely banished my ignorance. I was not aware that as a mother of a child with a disability, I needed to have a response plan in place for my son and my family. While disasters and emergencies affect everyone, their impact on people with disabilities/special needs is often compounded by factors such as reliance on wheelchair, accessible transportation and accessible communication – all of which can be compromised in emergency situations. Generally speaking, evidence shows that persons with disabilities are often among the first victims of natural disasters as early warning systems may fail to reach them in time, or those with physical disabilities such as blindness, hearing impaired or deaf, or wheelchair users might not be able to act on the warnings quickly enough.
Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility. As climate change threats continue to be on the rise, weather conditions are expected to worsen in the coming years. Countries like Jamaica, which is known to experience extreme weathers such as storms, hurricanes, flooding,
and earthquakes, must be adequately prepared.
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