Sign language interpreter Gael Seru during the Pacific Disability Forum at the Holiday Inn in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA
THERE’S a need for all evacuation centres around the country to be disability inclusive, says Pacific Development Forum information officer Simione Bula.
He highlighted this during his presentation at the Severe TC Winston Disability Assessment Stakeholder Consultation at the Holiday Inn Suva yesterday.
Mr Bula said out of the 963 people with disabilities who were assessed in cyclone affected areas around Fiji during their assessment in March, only 44 of them reached the evacuation centres.
“The rest they did not go to the evacuation centres because the transport was not accessible, they are unable to move from their homes to the evacuation centres; these are those living in informal settlements,” Mr Bula said.
“Those who are living in villages they cannot move to the evacuation centres because they do not know where the centres are. They didn’t get that information which is very important.”
He said this information needed to be readily available to people with disabilities before disaster strikes to ensure that they are able to evacuate to safety from their homes.
Mr Bula also stressed the need for the construction of footpaths to make it accessible for these people to get to evacuation centres.
“There’s a need to ensure that the following basic inclusive features are available in all evacuation centres (ramps, accessible toilets, safety zones, information, distribution points, services, footpaths).