Experiences of people with disabilities during and after Tropical Cyclone Pam and recommendations for humanitarian leaders
The situation and needs of people with disabilities following Tropical Cyclone Pam (TC Pam) were generally not captured in formal mainstream assessments led by the National Disaster Management Office. Where the needs of people with disabilities were identified, these were not prioritised during the response (Government of Vanuatu 2015); and some people with disabilities missed out on distributions altogether. Reflections on the response hypothesized that mainstream assessment methodologies and tools generally missed people with disabilities, and that agencies tended not to automatically include them in their efforts (Ministry of Justice and Community Services & CARE 2015).
More detailed information regarding the situation and needs of people with disabilities was required to support effective inclusion of people with disabilities in recovery activities. Vanuatu does not currently have reliable quantitative data on the prevalence, location and experiences of people with disabilities. In response, Oxfam in Vanuatu, Vanuatu Society for People with Disabilities (VSPD), Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association (DPA), the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (MoJCS), Nossal Institute for Global Health and CBM Australia worked with key government organisations to undertake a disability situation and needs assessment in one affected island (Tanna), in order to meet this data gap.