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Disaster Reduction - Focus on flood-proofing accessible essentials

3 people on a boat on a river
© Gopal / CDD
It is important to recognise the challenges persons with disabilities face in quickly evacuated flooded areas: easy and cost effective solutions such as an accessible boat can save lives.

On 13 October, CBM celebrates International Day for Disaster Reduction. Before this date, we are highlighting stories from the DiDRR network's publication 'Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management'. This week, we focus on accessibility to flood proofing essentials: easy and cost effective solutions inside!

What is International Day for Disaster Reduction?

13 October: A not so obvious conversation. Living with disability and disasters ©UN ISDR
International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees International Day as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. International Day for Disaster Reduction is now celebrated on 13th October: a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). It's also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The 2013 theme for the day is Living with Disability & Disasters. Persons living with disabilities have unique contributions, often overlooked, to help reduce the risk of disasters. IDDR 2013 intends to switch on and amplify this critical issue of including the needs of persons living with disabilities now and for the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.

What is the publication about?

cover of the publication: Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Management ©CBM
This publication presents disability inclusive disaster risk reduction by relating stories and testimonials of persons with disabilities acting as effective agents. This publication has been produced with the Disability-inclusive DRR Network for Asia and the Pacific (DiDRRN).

The document discloses good practices that illustrate the results of effective participation of persons with disabilities in disaster risk reduction activities. It also unveils how some organisations decided to include disability as an integral part of their policies and programmes.

Flood-proofing accessible water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure

The Center for Disability and Development (CDD) is a partner of CBM in Bangladesh. They develop a more inclusive society for persons with a disability.
CDD’s  assessment in the region of Sreepur Union showed that the daily challenge for persons with disabilities to access to safe drinking water and proper latrines was exacerbated during floods and emergencies. 97 per cent reported that they faced difficulties accessing safe drinking water during floods. With regard to using latrines, 96 per cent reported that it becomes extremely difficult during this time.

The project supported 18 persons with disabilities from six wards of Sreepur union to reconstruct accessible and flood proofed housing with latrines and tube wells designed to continue functioning during flooding disasters. Flood-proofing included raising the plinth, planting trees and grasses around the house to prevent soil from washing away in a flood and installing a concrete floor.
To ensure sustainability, families were encouraged to make the person with disability owner of the land or at least part of the house and only then where the house constructed or renovated. This was done because typically persons with disabilities are discriminated against, and sometimes overlooked by their families in ownership of land or rooms in a house. The cost of one flood risk universally accessible house along with installation of one accessible tube well and latrine was approximately US$ 1,212.

Apart from the tube wells and latrines installed in homes, 30 existing tube wells from the community were reinstalled above flood level and made accessible in locations that would benefit the total community. Adaptations included the installation of ramps, increased size of platforms sufficient to manoeuvre and turn a wheelchair, raised place to wash clothes and use of colour contrast to assist people with low vision. On average, the cost of reinstalling one tube well in the community was US$ 92. In partnership with local school management committees, local government and the community, the ground levels of two schools were also adapted to serve as accessible flood shelters, with raised areas.

Accessible escape floods boat

Recognising the challenge persons with disabilities face in quickly evacuating flooded areas; the project also built a steel-bodied rescue boat with 60-person capacity and modified it for disabled access. People can safely board the accessible boat using the ramp, move independently within the boat and use the accessible latrine and water source. A storage tank was fitted on the roof where safe drinking water is kept. One solar panel was installed to allow light in the accessible boat at all times and people are able to charge their mobile phones to ensure that they remain within the communication network. The construction cost for the steel bodied boat with all accessibility features was US$ 10,000.

More information

Disaster Reduction - Five inclusive NGOs in action

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction 2013, CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Disaster Reduction - meet Rashedul from Bangladesh

Leading up to 13 October, International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR 2013), CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management

CBM and DiDRRN launch a key publication on Inclusive Disaster Risk Management, including good practice examples and 'voices from the field'


Disaster risk - CBM working to build more resilience

CBM is part of the DiDRR network to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in building resilience for the communities


GP DRR outcome statement includes disability

In May 2013 CBM and partners participated in the 4th session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva


Humanitarian Action

CBM working with local partners to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of disaster preparedness and response



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