NFD stresses on disabled friendly infrastructure

- Pratichya Dulal, Kathmandu

Jun 17, 2015-Shriram Tamang, 38, of Dolalghat, Kavre lost his white cane among the rubble of his house following the April 25 earthquake. He now walks around without his stick to collect relief materials distributed in his village. However, Tamang hopes someone would be thoughful enough to give him a cane along with relief materials.     

Even though there has been ample amount of food and tents distributed in his village, no one has come up with a cane for the visually impaired man.

A 16-year-old girl from Deupur in Kavre has had a similar fate once she lost her crutches in the May 12 earthquake. Laxmi Dulal also hopes someone will gift her a new pair.

According to President of National Federation of Disabled (NFD) Shudarson Subedi, the plight of disabled people has gone worse following the quake, adding there are at least 4,000 disable people in the country. “Our preliminary data shows that at least a thousand have been severely disabled by the quake and will need long term treatment. For those already with disability, walking a long distance to collect relief and finding out that the relief materials are not disable friendly has added to their owes,” said Subedi. Sharing the same space and tent with other people has not been easy for the disabled ones, especially the mentally retarded people, he said.

With government and international organisations paying very little heed to the needs of the disabled, the NFD is now working to ensure that their problems are addressed in the reconstruction phase. The organisation has asked the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to follow the 2012 guideline during reconstruction. “We have always demanded that infrastructures follow the 2012 guideline. Unfortunately it has not been the case so far and the reconstruction phase is the best opportunity for us to ensure that our voice is heard,” said Subedi.  

The National Planning Commission has recommended that new constructions be disable friendly. “The Post Disaster Needs Assessment has asked new buildings to follow the 2012 guideline and require disabled-friendly spaces in all newly built places where people with disability can sit and relax,” said  Bimala Rai Paudyal, a NPC member who leads the social section of the PDNA.

Radhika Aryal, joint secretary at MoWCSW said the ministry is serious about ensuring that the infrastructures to be built in the quake affected areas follow the guideline. “Following the 2012 guideline while rebuilding is one of our main priorities,” said Aryal.

Published: 18-06-2015 08:04

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