In a situation of risk, is the state’s early warning system accessible to all persons with disabilities?


Systems that could be in place include: city lights, SMS-services, email services etc. But any existing system should not be limited to either radio or public address systems/sirens – in line with the two-sense principle. “Situation of risk” includes situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.

In detail


A significant proportion of respondents (63%) claimed there are no emergency early warning system in place for persons with disabilities. The main barriers observed were:

  • Inadequate systems for hard of hearing or people with intellectual disabilities
  • Only certain buildings such as public buildings have facilities adapted to people with disabilities
  • There is an overall lack of training among emergency workers to support people with disabilities
  • Only some authorities,often at the regional level are involved in contributing to making early emergency warning systems accessible for people with disabilities. Respondents generally observed that there is an overall lack of government support in including this dimension into the design of early warning systems, leading DPOs and NGOs to fill the gap in addressing the issue.

“The Philippines is just beginning to revive its early warning systems due to recent calamities. Most of these early warning system initiatives are local government-based and these are not accessible for persons with disabilities.”

“There are no early warning devices for PWDs. Care and concern for PWDs are in short supply by the Government and even other stakeholders working on the ground. The clear example is the Ebola crisis we face as a nation. Despite our strong advocacy for the inclusion of PWDs in the Nation Task Force on Ebola we are ignored in the entire process, no special designed awareness and preventive information messages on radios and TVs and neither in Braille and Sign Language” (Fallah S. Boima-Cymbianoh, National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD), member of DPI, Liberia)

“There had being many consultation for inclusion of early warning system for all persons with disabilities but the national emergency early warning system and disaster preparedness is not in compliance with minimum expected standards specially to meet the requirements of hearing impaired and severely disabled persons.” (Prasanna Kuruppu, Coordinator/Focal Point – International Affiliations, Disability Organization Joint front, member of DPI, Sri Lanka)

CRPD Article

Article 11- Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies 

“States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)