Sunday 18 August, 2019

Remember persons with disabilities this hurricane season

(L-R) Director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds; acting Director of the Met Office, Sonia Nurse; and President of the BCD, Maria Holder-Small.

(L-R) Director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds; acting Director of the Met Office, Sonia Nurse; and President of the BCD, Maria Holder-Small.

Persons with disabilities have challenges, but one of the spokepersons for that community says they are human too and still have needs.

As she addressed a press conference on Thursday hosted by The Disaster of Emergency Management (DEM) at the start of the 2017 Hurricane Season, Maria Holder-Small, President of the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD), praised the DEM for the commendable level of inclusion they have been given in such a “trying” season.

She says the DEM met with them on a number of occasions to identify and address the needs of persons with disabilities.

“In addition, the Council has been working along with the Vulnerable Committee of the National Assistance Board for a number of years in trying to heighten awareness to the issues persons with disabilities face. This has been an ongoing challenge; one that requires all Barbadians to play their parts,” she said.

Holder-Small said as the hurricane season is now upon us, there is still much to be done, noting that a BCD representative has also been accompanying the Disaster Emergency Management personnel on their Hurricane Shelter Assessments for the past four years.

She says from all reports, there still seems to be a number of challenges in the manner that many of the bathrooms at these shelters are maintained since they should be checked thoroughly prior to the start of the hurricane season as they often fall into disrepair.

“I will also call on the authorities to ensure wherever possible that adequate privacy screens are made available. Persons with disabilities seeking shelter need to be treated with similar respect as the rest of the community,” she pleaded.

Holder-Small is calling on all members of her grouping to be proactive and to inform their family, friends and neighbours in advance that they might need their assistance throughout the hurricane season and keep their contact details close by.

The President Is also calling on them to start planning where they will go for shelter and how they may get there and who they may need to provide them with assistance.

“Have a supply of non-perishable foodstuff that can meet your family needs for at least 3 days and store one gallon of water per person per day, as well as water for domestic use in clean plastic containers - do not use glass containers,” she implored.

While Barbadians are busy preparing for the season, Holder-Small reminded them to also look out for vulnerable persons in the society.

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