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hif_blog_-_motivationCopyright Johanniter/Paul Hahn.

Today we have reached the milestone of seeing the first deployment of Motivation’s Emergency Response Wheelchair.

A few hours ago our partner, Johanniter International Assistance, loaded 50 wheelchairs on a Lufthansa cargo flight to the Philippines in response to the recent disaster.

The reports from the Philippines are grim. The aftermath of the typhoon has been described as a cross between a tsunami and an earthquake. Many people have lost their mobility devices. There are large numbers of injuries and already they are seeing amputations from infected fractures and limb cuts.

The Johanniter Emergency Medical Response Team and their Philippine partner organisation have started to prepare the ground for the project by assessing target areas, identifying wheelchair users, organising logistics, and networking.

Next week, a Johanniter Volunteer (P&O technician) who participated in the Emergency Response Service training at Johanniter will fly out to start the service with their local partner organisation.

Handicap International, our other partner in this project, has also sent out an emergency response team to begin to address basic needs, and they are assessing where they will set up their response to specific needs (including wheelchairs).

There are many challenges – HI reported it took them 8 hours to drive a usual 30 minute journey. Communications are limited, and the island nature of the country complicates logistics. The awareness of the needs of disabled people is still weak.

Motivation’s role will now be to monitor the wheelchair services to see how effective the training has been. We will also be working to gather evidence on the impact of appropriate wheelchairs in an emergency.

We will be looking for clear evidence that the combination of the wheelchairs, service and training makes a tangible contribution to disabled people’s recovery from the disaster.

Sarah Sheldon.

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