According to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, people with disability face more challenges, are overlooked and are at a higher risk in times of disaster.
Michelle Villeneuve is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney's Centre for Disability Research and Policy. She says, “Fundamentally, the reason they’re more at risk is because often critical information is not in a format they can access, understand or use.”
“Just like exclusion from mainstream community activities, people with disabilities have been excluded from the mainstream of emergency management."
For example, not all news programs have included Auslan interpreters. Or if they have, there have been instances where interpreters are cropped from the shot so the camera can zoom in on the person who is talking.
If you’re looking for accessible information about the bushfires, we recently worked with the National Disability Insurance Agency to produce the Easy Read document, Bushfire information and support. It includes information about what to do in an emergency and how the NDIA can help. You can read it on the National Disability Insurance Scheme website.
You can also find a comprehensive guide about communicating inclusively in emergencies on the Centre for Inclusive Design website. It explains the best ways to communicate to someone who may be deaf, blind, or speak a language other than English.