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Humanitarian Action

two hands pouring seeds between them
© CBM/Hayduk
Seeds being checked before distribution - disability-inclusive response to 2016 Ethiopia food crisis

Working with partners towards fully inclusive humanitarian action

CBM humanitarian activities aim to equally reach and actively involve persons with disabilities, addressing specific needs while promoting and facilitating full inclusion in mainstream services. We work – together with partners – on projects that are context-specific, from preparedness to immediate life-saving needs such as food, shelter and medical work, and longer-term rehabilitation interventions in fields such as education, sanitation, healthcare, livelihood and reconstruction.

Disability and humanitarian situations

At least 15% of any disaster-affected population will be persons living with disabilities1. The barriers they face are greatly amplified, when society breaks down as a result of conflict, emergency and disaster.
MORE AT-RISK - Due to various barriers, persons with disability are among the most at-risk in their communities, being disproportionately affected by disaster and experiencing extra challenges in accessing relief and recovery services.
ESSENTIAL RESOURCE - Persons with disability and other marginalised groups have unique knowledge and experience that is not only essential to their own survival, but to the resilience of their communities as a whole.
INCREASED NUMBER - Emergency situations can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective and accessible medical and rehabilitation services.

How CBM operates in humanitarian situations

CBM humanitarian activities are collaboratively-run, involving the Federation’s Emergency Response Unit (ERU), Member Associations, Regional/Country Offices and its partner organisations. Which entity takes leadership, and other roles and responsibilities, depends on the specific context of each response/activity.
The ‘twin-track’ approach
  1. Strengthen participation of persons with disabilities - Through the delivery of disability-specific services, capacity development and advocacy, we work to ensure that persons with disabilities and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) can equally access and contribute to humanitarian action
  2. Enable communities and humanitarian stakeholders to become inclusive -  Through advocacy, provision of technical expertise, training and funding, we work to ensure that all levels of humanitarian action are accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities.
Working with partners
CBM humanitarian programmes are run in co-operation with partner organisations. These may be our ongoing development partners but, depending on context, we may form new relationships. Our partners include specialists in providing healthcare, rehabilitation or education services, mainstream humanitarian actors, other disability organisations and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

Guiding principles

  • UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • SPHERE standards, Humanitarian Charter and Code of Conduct
  • CBM Safeguarding Policy
  • CBM Global Programme Strategy
  • Humanitarian Inclusion Standards (HIS)

Inclusive humanitarian action as part of inclusive development

CBM aims to ensure that all planning for and response to emergency situations is inclusive of, but not restricted to, persons with disabilities, other more at-risk members of society, and their families. We do this by working with partners of all types, meaning that local, specific knowledge is harnessed and large-scale ‘mainstream’ interventions are inclusive. This strategic approach ensures no-one is left behind, while synergy with CBM development and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) work completes the process, ultimately fostering more inclusive and resilient communities.

Selected news articles related to CBM Inclusive Emergency Response

Humanitarian Hands-on Tool now available in Spanish

The CBM Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHoT) has also undergone preliminary field testing and was finalist in a digital awards competition


Humanitarian Inclusion Standards part of Humanitarian Standards Partnership

The Humanitarian Inclusion Standards become part of the Humanitarian Standards Partnership, complementing existing guidelines and filling gap on inclusion


Humanitarian Inclusion Standards

This document provides guidance to include older people and people with disabilities in all sectors and at all stages of humanitarian action


Hurricane Matthew - One year later

Inclusive emergency response in Haiti and Cuba


Hurricane Matthew - Six months on

CBM response ensuring that persons with disabilities in Haiti and Cuba are able to rebuild their lives


Hurricane Matthew - After three months

CBM response is ensuring that persons with disabilities and other more at-risk community members are included


World Humanitarian Day 2016

CBM highlights the Humanitarian Disability Charter and interviews Ethiopian Emergency Programme Manager


Ecuador Earthquake

CBM and partners responding to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Ecuador on 16 April 2016


Active Participation: Key to Inclusion

Testimonies from humanitarian workers with disabilities


Ethiopia food crisis

CBM responding to address immediate needs and build resilience, including people who are most at-risk


Disability charter endorsed at World Humanitarian Summit

CBM, with partners, participates in the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities


Nepal 2015 earthquake - Impact assessment

Research assessing the impact of the 2015 Nepal earthquake on older people and persons with disabilities


Nepal earthquake - one year on

Working to ensure that everyone in the affected communities - including persons with disabilities - benefits from and participates in relief and recovery work


Disability-inclusive Sendai implementation

The Dhaka Declaration, adapted at the Dhaka Conference on Disability and Disaster, December 2015, supports implementation of the Sendai Framework


Disability-inclusive shelter training in Nepal

CBM emergency response in post-earthquake Nepal, in collaboration with key stakeholders, provides training on disability-inclusive shelter and settlement in emergency


Nepal earthquake - six months on

More than 21,000 people reached so far, as CBM and partners' inclusive response to the Nepal earthquake looks to the future


Nepal earthquake - three months of inclusive response

CBM and partners' response strategy has reached more than 15,000 people so far, and laid foundations for a more inclusive future


Nepal earthquake - one month on

CBM and partners have implemented a response strategy that addresses immediate needs and ensures disability-inclusion in mainstream services


Inclusive Humanitarian Action

An integral part of the new global agenda


Nepal earthquake

CBM emergency team working with partners to provide for immediate and long-term needs in Nepal - including people with disabilities


Importance of inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

Interview with Valerie Scherrer, director of CBM's Emergency Response Unit, about inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)


Post-2015 DRR framework is disability-inclusive

CBM welcomes the new framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which promises greater resilience for all of society


DRR - Inclusion key to resilience

At the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), CBM supports a disability-inclusive Post-2015 framework


Tropical Storm Chedza in Madagascar

CBM and partners respond to tropical storm Chedza in Madagascar, to address immediate and long-term needs


Severe flooding in Malawi

CBM and partners are responding to the Malawi flooding to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in relief measures


Haiti - five years on

CBM commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Haiti earthquake which struck on 12 January 2010


Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby)

CBM has contacted all partners potentially affected by the Philippines' latest typhoon, and none have reported casualties or major damage


Accessible technology in humanitarian action

To ensure full inclusion and maximum resilience for all in emergency response and Disaster Risk Reduction, technology must be accessible


Cyclone Hudhud – Relief supplies for most at risk

Ensuring basic needs of people affected by Hudhud in India are met, especially families of persons with disabilities


International Day for Disaster Reduction 2014

International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is celebrated this year on 13 October, and the theme focuses on older people


CBM and partners' response to the Gaza crisis

CBM and local partners are working together to equip families in Gaza with food and hygiene kits and to provide support to severely injured people


Disability included positively in DRR conference outcome

The 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) recognises importance of active participation of persons with disability


Innovative DRR - Pacific Disability Forum wins new award

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) work of Pacific Disability Forum is recognised as they win Pacific Innovation and Leadership Award for Resilience


Post-2015 Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

How to advocate for active inclusion of people with disabilities


Launch of Aging and Disability Task Force in Philippines

CBM and other international NGOs launch the Aging and Disability Task Force (ADTF) in the Philippines, to ensure full inclusiion in humanitarian responses


Typhoon Haiyan - six months on

Six months since Typhoon Haiyan, CBM and partners are working to ensure that people with disabilities are included at all levels of recovery


Contributing to Haiyan recovery

CBM partner, Association of Disabled Persons Iloilo (ADPI) Cooperative, contributes to mainstream recovery by building furniture for schools


Haiyan - disability inclusive recovery

Ageing and Disability Focal Points (ADFPs) provide the link between persons with disabilities recovering from Haiyan and essential public services


Philippines - typhoon Haiyan

CBM and partners working to ensure that persons with disabilities are not forgotten in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan


Syria crisis - CBM supporting refugees with disabilities

More than 590,000 Syrian refugees are living in Jordan - CBM and partners are supporting persons with disabilities in Al Za’atari camp


WHO & CBM launch publication on inclusive health

WHO, CBM and other partners have released a guidance note about including persons with disabilities in Emergency Risk Management for Health


Day for Disaster Reduction - Inclusion saves lives!

13 October is International Day for Disaster Reduction, CBM celebrates disability inclusive practices from around the world


Disaster Reduction - Meet Kazol, 'disaster prepared'

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


Disaster Reduction - Flood-proofing essentials

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


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


World Humanitarian Day - the world needs more inclusion

For World Humanitarian Day 2013 the UN is launching a campaign called 'The world needs more...' - CBM wants more inclusion


ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise 2013

CBM and Disability Thailand were involved in planning meetings and participated in ASEAN Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx) 2013


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


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'


CBM participates in global DRR conference

In May 2013 CBM will be taking part in the 4th Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva.


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


Typhoon Bopha - CBM providing access to basic needs

A severe typhoon caused extensive damage in the Philippines in December 2012 - CBM Emergency Response Unit is supporting persons with disabilities


CBM supports persons with disabilities in DRC

CBM and local partner organisation in DRC are supporting persons with disabilities who have been displaced as a result of the recently escalating conflict


CBM film wins award at Disaster Risk Reduction conference

Focusing on a young woman who lives in a flood prone region of Bangladesh, 'Kazol and the Flood’ is voted best in ‘Human Interest’ category


Food crisis in Niger - support to pastoralist communities

As a food crisis is about to affect the whole Sahel region, CBM aims to enable vulnerable families to pass the summer lean season


Philippines: 640,000 people affected by tropical storm

The southern Philippines has been hit by tropical storm Washi, which caused a thousand deaths. CBM deploys assessment mission


Floods in Southeast Asia and Central America

CBM and its partners monitor the situation closely as projects are affected; the impact of natural disasters is greater for persons with disabilities


Horn of Africa food crisis

CBM and partners supporting people with disabilities affected by the Horn of Africa food crisis


Pakistan flood relief – Rebuilding

Emergency relief efforts are shifting towards rebuilding homes, schools and livelihoods for flood survivors


Homes and livelihoods washed away

Meer Hassan, a person with a disability who was self sufficient before the flooding in Pakistan, has lost everything


Haiti Earthquake - CBM in Port-au-Prince

CBM's Emergency response team reports from Port-au-Prince



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