Abuja - The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammad Sani Sidi, has called on experts in the construction sector to cater for the needs of the disabled in the designing and building of structures.
Sidi also urged members of the public to provide necessary support to the disabled during emergencies.
“We need to remind our planners and builders that wheelchair access is needed for evacuation and there is a need to include this in their designs and buildings,” he said in Abuja during the 2013 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction celebration.
The event was held under the theme, “Living with Disability and Disaster.”
Sidi said the theme explained the reason for collaboration in the fight against the risk and impacts of disaster on the vulnerable in communities.
Sidi expressed concern that most people did not consider the plight of their physically and mentally-challenged counterparts during disasters.
The NEMA leader also reminded the public that including people living with disabilities in disaster risk reduction efforts had the potential to contribute to community-wide human development.
Sidi maintained that persons living with disabilities were among the most excluded in society, adding that their difficulties usually increased when disaster struck.
He highlighted that the United Nations had selected the annual celebration for the promotion of disaster risk reduction activities in order to encourage people and governments to participate in the building of more conducive communities.
“People living with disabilities must be seen not as passive recipients of humanitarian care, but as equal participants in disaster risk reduction,” he said.
– CAJ News