The Well-Being of Persons with Disabilities during Disasters: A Humanitarian Policy Framework Perspective




Marginalization of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in crises and situations of risk is one of the major societal challenges that this category of people has to deal with. It is not a question of whether there are international or even national legal frameworks to support inclusion of persons with disabilities in disasters and humanitarian action, but whether these frameworks are effective at all. This book is a peep into the reality of disasters and humanitarian action as it relates to Persons with Disabilities in Kisumu County, Kenya. The author draws the government’s and other humanitarian actors’ attention on the need for genuine and substantive participation of PwDs in disaster management cycle; preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. This will lead to capturing of their disaggregated profiles and needs which should be the basis for informed planning and decision making at every stage. The risk and vulnerability of the disabled population is exacerbated by both man-made and natural disasters. Dr. Masakhwe, in this book therefore advocates for the involvement of diverse PwDs representative organizations in disasters and humanitarian action processes from assessment of their needs, to design, coordination, implementation as well as their monitoring and evaluation in order to create enabling environment and awareness among humanitarian actors of the need for truly inclusive response during disaster and humanitarian action. Overall, this book highlights the inadequacy of the existing international and national humanitarian policy framework in protecting the wellbeing of PwDs in disasters. The book is therefore a must-read for policy makers and humanitarian actors who are duty-bound with the wellbeing and effective protection of Persons with Disabilities during Disasters and situations of risk.


Dr. Phitalis Were Masakhwe is a Kenyan with a physical disability. He is a renowned Social Development, Disaster Risk Reduction and Disability Rights Specialist. For 22 years, he worked in the Development and Humanitarian sector including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Afghanistan where he served as International Advisor. Currently, he is the Chief Officer in charge of Service Delivery, County Government of Kakamega, Kenya. Dr Masakhwe teaches Social Work and Disaster Management on part-time basis at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST). He has served in senior positions at AMREF Health Africa, ACTIONAID International, Leonard Cheshire Disability International and PLAN International. He has an earned PhD in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance from MMUST, an MA in Social Development and Management from Maseno University and a BA in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Nairobi. He also has a post Graduate Certificate in Governance and Democracy from Marquette University, USA. Phitalis has written and published a lot in newspapers, peer reviewed journals and books.


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