Theme of the International Day for Disaster Reduction (2013), “Living with Disability and Disasters”, reminds us of the importance of persons with disabilities and vulnerable citizens who are crippled during disaster situations. This year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction is aimed at highlighting the abilities, needs and roles of people with disabilities.
As per WHO report on disability (2011), 10% of Pakistan’s population is living with some form of disability. People with disabilities can play the same important role in the development of a country as common people do, provided an inclusive approach is adopted for mainstreaming them.
Our disaster and risk management plans and policies will remain inconclusive till the element of disability is included in disaster risk reduction processes. We must focus to integrate persons with disabilities in the formulation of policies meant for disaster risk reduction. Only then can we have a resilient society to better cope with disasters.
Pakistan is committed to ensuring the rights of vulnerable segments of society so that people with disabilities, are protected during disasters and emergencies. We believe that such persons can also greatly contribute towards sustainable development and I hope that observance of this day would further illuminate the potential of people with disabilities.