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Inaccessible shelters, untrained shelter staff and limited services and resources created unnecessary challenges for people with disabilities during and after Hurricane Florence. Disability Rights North Carolina, the state’s disability rights monitoring group, released a report in February describing these findings. Advocates are now working to elevate the voices of people with disabilities and their caregivers to ensure that their needs aren’t overlooked when planning for the next disaster.
Disability rights advocates are calling for more input from people with disabilities and their advocates in the disaster planning process. Marcie Roth leads the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies. Her group backs the READI for Disasters Act, which was introduced in Congress last year.
“We believe very strongly in the adage, ‘Nothing about us without us.’ We had a room full of people here today, who obviously very much want to be involved moving forward. This legislation would open the door for a much more robust engagement of people with disabilities at the table, at the head of the table, and really directing what happens before the next disaster.”