Disaster management webinar for people with disabilities organized by NCPEDP

Disaster Management, persons with disability, disabled person

Disaster management webinar for people with disabilities organized by NCPEDP

Gangtok, April 23:

The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), India's apex disability rights organization in association with its National Disability Network, Disaster Management Authorities, and Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities organized the first 'National Conference on Disability Inclusive Disaster Management’ of the year on April 20.   
 
Held on a virtual platform, the conference was conducted through four technical sessions which included issues ranging from persons with disabilities in the context of disasters; challenges, and good practices. It covered experiences of State Disability Commissioners, good practices by Disaster Management Authorities, and the role of Civil Societies and persons with disabilities in securing inclusive disaster management. The conference was supported by the Disability Rights Fund (DRF). 
 
“The COVID disaster has laid bare 2 critical facts – the necessity of effective disaster management systems, and the gaps in the working of these systems in reaching persons with disabilities. Although India dealt with the pandemic as a national disaster, the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Guidelines were practically ignored,” said Arman Ali, executive director, NCPEDP. 
 
“It is key to make the best use of the current situation to ensure persons with disabilities are not left out and Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Guidelines are implemented. Emphasis needs to be laid on collaborative efforts between the Government, Civil Society, and persons with disabilities,” he added.   
 
The Disability Commissioners present for the webinar included
* Thiru. Johny Tom Varghese, Tamil Nadu
* V.Muniraju, Karnataka
* Smt. Diethono Nakhro, Nagaland
* AirCmde. Ranjan Mukherjee, Delhi
* Sandeep Rajak, Madhya Pradesh
* Smt. B.Shailaja, Telangana
* C. Udayakumar, Secretary Social WelfareDepartment, Pondicherry. 
 
Poonam Natarajan, Founder- Chairperson, Vidya Sagar, and Former Chairperson, National Trust stressed the importance of vulnerability mapping, understanding the barriers faced by persons with disabilities, and having a plan for them as part of the mainstream and not as an afterthought for inclusive disaster management.  
 
State Commissioners for persons with disabilities shared a few of the good practices adopted by their states which included
1. Timely translation of the Central and State guidelines related to COVID-19 in an accessible format
2. Disbursement of disability pensions
3. 24/7 helpline
4. Preparing SOPs as per individual needs of different disabilities mentioned under the RPwD Act, 2016
5. Creating Whatsapp groups to constantly be in touch with persons with disabilities
6. Working in consonance with the NGOs
7. Activating the measures adopted during the first wave of COVID-19 for persons with disabilities
8. Popularising the helpline numbers
9. Identifying people with high support needs
10. Dedicated helpline for the hearing impaired with the facility of a sign language interpreter
11. Preferential treatment to persons with disabilities in hospitals.  
 
In a presentation made by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority emphasis was laid upon disseminating early warning information during disasters in sign language for persons with disabilities.
 
‘Focus should be on rescue, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction,” added Dr. Sruti Mohapatra, Founder, and Chief Executive, Swabhiman. Of the many questions raised during the webinar, the non-availability of disability certificates continues to be a challenge in accessing entitlements by persons with disabilities.  
 
Some of the other important points highlighted by civil society representatives included disability sensitization among government authorities around the concerns and needs of persons with disabilities; partnerships with DPOs, civil society to be taken into consideration both pre and post disasters; advocating for including State Disability Commissioners in the State Executive Committee on Disasters; larger Consultations with the Disability Groups at the State Levels through the State Disaster ManagementAuthority, etc. 
 
To know more, please visit www.ncpedp.org. 
 
NCPEDP Social Media Handles
1. Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NCPEDP/  
2. YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpKGjLhGHQi2dtqnTiU7Dmw 
3. Twitter - https://twitter.com/ncpedp_india  
4. Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/company/ncpedp/?originalSubdomain=in%20BycLLVNh 
5. Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ncpedp_india/
 
NCPEDP (National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People) is India's apex disability rights organization. It functions as a key interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards the empowerment of persons with disabilities. 2021 marks the 25th year of the organization's existence.
 
Founded in 1996, its key achievements include
 
1. A leading role in the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
2. Pushing for the creation of a focused Department of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
3. An advisory role in the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
4. Advocacy towards the announcement of a policy by the Ministry of I&B to make television accessible to persons with hearing disabilities; 
5. Continuous efforts towards making the voting process accessible for people with disabilities since the General Elections of 2004.
 
As a cross-disability organization, it represents the rights and issues of over 70 million people with disabilities in India.  Javed Abidi, one of the founding members of  NCPEDP, was also Chair of DPI (Disabled People's International) and put India on the global disability rights map. Today, NCPEDP stresses the need to move away from the traditionally held views of charity and welfare. It advocates a rights-based approach, focusing on accessibility, productivity, and enablement of people with disabilities.
 
Its six core principles are education, employment, accessibility, legislation/policy, awareness/communication, and youth welfare.

By Jhanvi Goad, can be contacted at janhavi@netwrokrgcomm.in