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Increasing awareness and knowledge among humanitarian organisations that a solution exists for supporting people with mobility disabilities in emergencies.

We were excited to hear that HIF had granted Motivation a small grant to build on the momentum gained through our two previous HIF grants; the first to design an emergency response wheelchair and develop accompanying field tools and training to support their effective distribution; and the second to implement and test this. The complete package was tested during the response Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and we are now holding stock of the emergency wheelchairs, having delivered a number of trainings in emergency wheelchair response to different organisations. During this third phase we will engage with stakeholders involved in disaster risk management to inform them about the Emergency Wheelchair Response package and increase their awareness about including people with disabilities within their disaster response planning.

However, before we had even begun, the terrible news of a powerful and devastating earthquake in Nepal broke. Luckily, during the previous phase of the project, we had prepositioned 50 of the emergency wheelchairs in Nepal with one of our partner organisations, Handicap International, as part of their disaster preparedness work. With the HI team already on the ground, they were able to react immediately providing practical help, including assembling and distributing the prepositioned wheelchairs to the overflowing hospitals the night of the earthquake and during the following days They are now bringing in more of the emergency response wheelchairs from their own stock.

From reports we have received, the Nepal earthquake has resulted in hundreds of people becoming disabled, including large numbers of people with spinal cord injuries. We have also heard that many disabled people lost their assistive devices during the earthquake. These people will need to be properly fitted with the right wheelchair in the right way and followed up, if they are to avoid future complications from an ill-fitting wheelchair.

As we start up the diffusion phase of the project we are also watching carefully the implementation of the emergency response wheelchair package in Nepal, to learn and inform the package for future responses.

For more information about the emergency wheelchair project please contact sheldon@motivation.org.uk

 

 

 

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