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An Empirical Exploration of the Capabilities of People with Disabilities in Coping with Disasters

While the capability approach is increasingly being adopted for evaluating well-being and social justice in the field of human development, this approach in disaster research has remained scarce. This research thus seeks to address the disaster risk that humans face through a lens of capabilities, with a focus on the lives of people with disabilities. A multi-case study approach was adopted and two rural communes in Vietnam were selected as study contexts. Data were collected using focus group discussions and interviews that involved people with disabilities, parents/caregivers of people with intellectual/psychosocial disabilities, and representatives from related organizations. It was found that people with disabilities are affected by disasters due to the lack of capabilities that they value in coping with disasters. A range of capabilities that people with disabilities value was revealed in the study sites, with many being valued not only in times of disasters but also in daily life. The findings also highlight that, to actualize their valued capabilities, people with disabilities need access not only to resources but also to the factors that enable them to convert the resources to their valued capabilities. In most cases, the limitations to the achievement of capabilities are related to the external environment.
Author: Ton, Khanh That; Gaillard, JC; Adamson, Carole; Akungor, Caglar; Ho, Ha Thanh
Language: English
Pubished By: International Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Pubished date: 2020

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