The Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS, for its acronym in Spanish) expresses its concern about the state of alert that some Central American and Caribbean nations are going through, on the occasion of the devastating passage of Hurricane Eta, today reduced to a tropical depression. Phenomenon that has impacted the region of Central America and the Caribbean since this Tuesday, especially in our sister countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala and Belize with gales, heavy rains, storm surges, rivers overflows and catastrophic landslides and floods, which have put and endanger the safety of millions of people living in the region, has also forced their urgent evacuation and even missing and deceased persons are registered.
It is estimated that the consequences will also pose a risk to other areas of the region. Among which are the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Cuba, countries that top the list.
Faced with this critical situation, the care and protection of vulnerable groups such as Persons with Disabilities, indigenous persons and persons living under extreme poverty, specially those located in rural areas, constitute a real challenge for the governments of the region, in terms of civil protection that they can ensure through its public policies of inclusive humanitarian response to emergencies and disasters.
The effects on these vulnerable populations may be disproportionate, aggravating their current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus increasing their conditions of vulnerability.
WE MAKE AN URGENT CALL to Governments, Humanitarian Action Organizations and International Cooperation of the affected countries, to join forces and take all necessary measures in order to guarantee the well-being of all risk groups, implementing their inclusive humanitarian action and response for Persons with Disabilities who are exposed to the danger and consequences of this natural phenomenon and who require considerations and reasonable accommodation measures to guarantee their accurate rescue and protection in accessible shelters, as well as access to information in a timely manner and in accessible formats; and ensure the consultation of representative organizations of persons with disabilities and their families in decision-making processes for the implementation of inclusive response and recovery strategies for the affected population. As established in article 11 of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and withinthe Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
From RIADIS we make our organization and the network of networks that we represent, available to collaborate in an inclusive response due to the impact of this natural phenomenon that is already causing human losses and critical damage to the entire population of the region of Central America and the Caribbean. As well as our support for the efforts made throughout our Latin America and the Caribbean to face the onslaught of climate change.
Every minute of humanitarian action counts in saving lives!
For an inclusive Latin American region, RIADIS raises the voice of Persons with Disabilities facing a humanitarian emergency.