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Missing millions: How older people with disabilities are excluded from humanitarian response

SHEPPARD, Phillip
POLACK, Sarah
McGIVERN, Madeleine
July 2018

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The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of older people with disabilities across a range of humanitarian settings, considering:

  • whether older people with disabilities have additional needs and challenges accessing humanitarian assistance and protection
  • what factors facilitate or limit access by older people with disabilities to humanitarian assistance and protection
  • to what extent is humanitarian response inclusive of older people with disabilities

A systematic literature review of published studies was conducted. Key online humanitarian guidelines were explored to review how far they explicitly address older people with disabilities. Data from six population-based disability surveys comparing the living situation of older people with and without disabilities were analysed. These included databases from two crises-affected populations in Haiti (post-earthquake) and Palestine. Data from four non-humanitarian settings was also reviewed to explore more broadly the situation for older people with disabilities – India, Guatemala, Cameroon and Nepal. Interviews were held with older people with disabilities, members of their families and local key informants in two conflict-affected populations in Ndutu and Mtendeli refugee camps in Western Tanzania, and Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Eastern Ukraine to find out about their experiences. Staff of five international agencies working in humanitarian response were also interviewed. 

 

Findings highlight particular issues facing older people with disabilities in humanitarian crises: more risk escaping from danger;  barriers to accessing social protection and work; barriers to accessing health and rehabilitation services; barriers to accessing food and other essentials; unsuitable housing and poor living conditions;  insecurity and discrimination; threats to dignity and independence; social isolation and loneliness; risks to mental health; and missing from humanitarian response.

 

A table brings together the findings from the different components of the research to show the needs, risks, barriers and enablers for older people with disabilities identified in the research. Recommendations are provided to humanitarian donors, policy makers and practitioners

Humanitarian Hands on Tool (HHoT)

CBM
2017

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The CBM smartphone app 'Humanitarian Hands-on Tool' (HHoT) provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement an inclusive emergency response. With disability-inclusive humanitarian action broken down into individual task cards, which explain the basic 'how-to' details in simple language and images, this web-based tool and downloadable mobile app aims to become the ‘go-to’ field resource for all agencies planning humanitarian work that leaves no-one behind

Guidelines for integrating gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian action: Reducing risk, promoting resilience and aiding recovery

WARD, Jean
LAFRENIERE, Julie
et al
2015

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The purpose of these Guidelines is to assist humanitarian actors and communities affected by armed conflict, natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions for the prevention and mitigation of gender-based violence (GBV) across all sectors of humanitarian response. Part One presents an overview of GBV, provides an explanation for why GBV is a protection concern for all humanitarian actors and outlines recommendations for ensuring implementation of the Guidelines. Part Two provides a background to the ‘thematic areas’ in Part Three. It also introduces the guiding principles and approaches that are the foundation for all planning and implementation of GBV-related programming. Part Three constitutes the bulk of these Guidelines. It provides specific guidance, organized into thirteen thematic area sections: camp coordination and camp management; child protection; education; food security and agriculture; health; housing, land and property; humanitarian mine action; livelihoods; nutrition; protection; shelter, settlement and recovery; water, sanitation and hygiene; humanitarian operations support sectors. The importance of cross-sectoral coordination is highlighted in each section. It is also recommended that sector actors review the content of all thematic area sections. The Guidelines draw from many tools, standards, background materials and other resources developed by the United Nations, national and international non-governmental organizations, and academic sources. In each thematic area there is a list of resources specific to that area, and additional GBV-related resources are provided in Annex 1. The importance of indicators being disaggregated by sex, age, disability and other vulnerability factors is highlighted throughout.

Guidance on including older people in emergency shelter programmes

HELPAGE INTERNATIONAL
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES (IFRC)
2011

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Given the lack of attention to older people in shelter programmes, these guidelines provide the following five key action points for including older people in shelter programmes: understand the needs and capacities of older people; ensure that older people participate and are represented; target vulnerable older people; incorporate age-friendly in both household and community shelters; and promote coordination, cooperation and sharing. Clear information is provided for each action point action supported by case studies, and the recommendations provide a framework for the different phases of a shelter programme (temporary, transitional and permanent). This resource is useful for people interested in including older people in emergency shelter programmes

Guidance on including older people in emergency shelter programmes : a summary

HELPAGE INTERNATIONAL (HAI)
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESENT SOCIETIES (IFRC)
2011

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This summary provides a brief introduction and recommends the following five key action points for including older people in shelter programmes: understand the needs and capacities of older people; ensure that older people participate and are represented; target vulnerable older people; incorporate age-friendly in both household and community shelters; and promote coordination, cooperation and sharing. This resource is useful for people interested in including older people in emergency shelter programmes

An ADA guide for local governments making community emergency preparedness and response programs accessible to people with disabilities

US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Civil Rights Division
2008

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This guide provides guidance for how to make local government emergency preparedness and response program accessible for persons with disabilities. It helps to identify needs and evaluate effective, accessible and inclusive emergency management practices. The following issues are explored: planning, notification, evacuation, sheltering, returning home and contracting for emergency services

Looking with a disability lens at the disaster caused by the tsunami in South East Asia

OOSTERS, Barbara
2005

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Disabled people are likely to feel the negative impact of a crisis more than other citizens. Their ability to cope and survive may be completely dependent on others, and the capacity of any family to support its disabled members is keenly tested. Anecdotal evidence from acute emergencies suggests that disabled people suffer particularly high rates of mortality and morbidity. In addition to those who were disabled before the onset of the crisis, many more become disabled

Accommodating individuals with disabilities in the provision of disaster mass care, housing, and human services

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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This document is a reference guide for disaster relief planners and service providers. It is intended to outline the legal standards relating to equal access for disabled people. Specifically, this resource describes access requirements that relate to mass care, housing and human services. A key feature of this resource, is a glossary and summary of relevant US legislation and law. This would be useful for anyone interested in disability and disaster situations

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