Towards disability transformative Early Warning Systems: Barriers, challenges, and opportunities
Early warning systems (EWS) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) programming remain some of the most effective ways to save lives during a disaster. The earlier a person is warned of a hazard and the more prepared they are, the more time they have to make critical life-saving decisions. This report finds, however, that most EWS and DRR programmes are unable to account for the heterogeneous needs of affected communities, thus, effective EWS and DRR practices should focus on the context specific needs of communities and the individuals within them to ensure that no one is left behind. Despite the fact that there are an estimated 600 million persons with disabilities in the world, very little has been done to create inclusive and comprehensive EWS which meet the needs of individuals with physical or cognitive impairments. This report highlights how systemic barriers and challenges faced by persons with disabilities (PWD), not only exclude them from decision-making in DRR practices, but also from functions of everyday life. While it is imperative to address the lack of research into effective and inclusive EWS, it is also key for organisations to address the systemic barriers that lead to exclusion of PWD from decisions regarding their own lives.