New report focuses on the disabled in disaster response
| 08.04.2006 | 09:27:14 | Views: 2996 | ID:
August 4 '06: The National Council on Disability released a report on Thursday entitled "The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on People with Disabilities: A look Back and Remaining Challenges" a press release issued by NCD announced. The report focuses on ways to "guide" the president, Congress and state and local emergency planners develop and improve evacuation and response plans.
NCD Chairperson Lex Frieden said, "People with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the Hurricanes because their needs were often overlooked or completely disregarded. Their evacuation, shelter, and recovery experiences differed vastly from the experiences of people without disabilities.""To ensure that people with disabilities do not experience similar injustices during future catastrophes, emergency plans must acknowledge and address the difficulties experienced by people with disabilities discussed within this paper, as well as include people with disabilities in rebuilding effort." In a report released last year, the NCD examined the developing role of several federal agencies in disabled-people emergency response and communications coordination. The prescient paper suggested that without direct involvement of the federal government to create a disabled-response plan, those without full faculty could find themselves unable to evacuate in case of an emergency such as Hurricane Katrina. Then in July 2006, the NCD issued another report investigating disaster response and planning for those who have mental disabilities. "In the months since the hurricanes devastated the Gulf Coast, media coverage of the hurricane survivors has waned. However, for hurricane survivors with psychiatric disabilities, the hurricanes' destruction resulted in 'trauma that didn't last 24 hours then go away. ... It goes on and on.'" In the latest report, the NCD recommended that nursing homes "maintain comprehensive evacuation and emergency response plans," in cooperation with the Department of Health and Human Services through Medicare and Medicaid accreditation; that Congress "should adopt principles embodied in Livable Communities to guide the provision of reconstruction funds"; and that community and city governments work to incorporate disabled peoples into their emergency response and planning strategies.
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