BANGKOK, 25 June 2014 – As ministers from across Asia met in Bangkok to discuss the increasingly important issue of disaster risk reduction, civil society groups have called for governments to do more to recognize, include and reach the most vulnerable sections of the society.
ActionAid, Oxfam, Handicap International, during the Sixth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction 2014 (6th AMCDRR), said the whole idea was to overhaul the design and implementation of disaster prevention and aid delivery to give vulnerable groups a fair chance.
According to ActionAid’s Resilience and Climate Change Coordinator Harjeet Singh, the new policy framework on disaster preparedness must deliver more than platitudes for the poor. It has to understand how disasters impact vulnerable people and must facilitate policies that respond to this, and above all it must include these stakeholders in the planning and delivery of disaster risk management, he added.
The three organizations are launching a policy paper, ‘Inclusive Disaster Risk Management’, which recommends that policy makers really make efforts to understand who is at risk and why, and to put in place effective action instead of empty words.
Meanwhile, Annie Patri, Handicap International’s Regional Project Coordinator for Disaster Risk Management, said people with physical and mental disabilities may not be able to access information services, and they are often invisible to policy makers. Governments tend to view people with disabilities and other vulnerable people as victims, instead of seeing them as active agents who need to be involved in the planning and delivery of disaster prevention, said Patri.