As the global community observed the International Day of Persons with Disability on December 3, 2011 the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has solicited support-assistance for persons with disabilities especially during emergency situations just as it creates a Unit to take care of vulnerable groups.
NEMA’s Director of Planning Research and Forecasting Dr Charles Agbo who represented the Director General of the agency Muhammd Sani-Sidi at a workshop on the rights and needs of persons living with disabilities organized by the Agency in Lokoja, Kogi State said the challenges faced by the disabled persons were so enormous that they are easily vulnerable to disasters. He therefore said that it was necessary for the society to accord special attention to their peculiar needs.
The NEMA boss urged corporate organizations and individuals involved in disaster management to always prioritize the needs of the disabled persons as NEMA has already taken the lead with the creation of a unit for cares of the vulnerable group including the disables, women and children.
“Understanding the rights and needs of persons living with disabilities in relation to response and rehabilitation during emergencies, disasters and crises situations are very crucial elements in reducing the negative impacts of hazards and thus essential to the achievement of sustainable development.”
Also speaking, a disabled person and president of Centre for Advocacy for Persons Living with Disabilities Ms Omotunde Ellen Thompson decried the negative attitudes of the society towards their disabilities. She requested special cares to address their situations and urged the government to consider the imperatives for their economic empowerment.
The Head of Public Relations of NEMA also disclosed that December 3 of every year, is a day set aside by the United Nations as International Day of Persons with Disabilities to promote better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural sphares of their communities. He said NEMA used the special day to create public awareness and sensitization campaign on the plights of the people with disability.
The workshop brought together experts, representatives of the various associations of the persons with disabilities and stakeholders in disaster management including officials of States Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) and Civil Defense among others.
International Day of People with Disability is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. It was originally called “International Day of Disabled Persons”.Each year the day focuses on a different issue.
Head Public Relations