World Report on Disability, Intellectual Disabilities, and Disaster Preparedness: Costa Rica as a Case Example
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The World Report on Disability relates concerns about the experiences of individuals with intellectual disability in disaster situations. Disaster planning related to people with intellectual disability needs to consider that (1) they experience disproportionate risk in disaster situations, (2) they are often excluded from relief processes and are disadvantaged in disaster support situations, (3) they may need specialized disability-related supports, (4) they often have needs for assistive technology and special rehabilitative services, (5) family and community networks are important supports in disaster situations, and (6) during recovery, rebuilding should be inclusive and include disability needs. Thus, people with intellectual disabilities are more likely to need additional assistance during evacuation, experience more tangible losses during disaster, and require more intensive support in the recovery phase following disaster. Enabling access to mainstream systems and services, improving human resource capacity, and providing adequate funding for recovery and disaster mitigation are strategies to increase disaster resilience for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Costa Rica is one country that has designed emergency disaster management policies and incorporated disability rights policies that cut across governmental functions and promote interagency cooperation. Having such policy structures and legislative supports are advantageous for people with intellectual disability, whose support needs often cut across different functional areas.