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Disability, Displacement and Public Health: A Vision for Haiti


Disability, Displacement and Public Health: A Vision for Haiti

Canadian Journal of Public Health March/April 2011

Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) with disabilities are some of the most neglected and socially excluded groups within any population. Natural disasters are events that cause bodily harm resulting in disability and that result in the displacement of people. Many predict a continual increase of natural disasters in the future due to changing climates. People with disabilities constitute one of the most vulnerable social groups in the case of a natural disaster. In 2010, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake leading to great social, health and economic hardship including the displacement of people with disabilities. Due to the very extent of the structural devastation Haiti experienced and the international focus on assisting Haitians who suffered injuries leading to disabilities, there is an opportunity for Haiti to become a model for future disaster management in terms of mainstreaming the needs of people with disabilities in the restoration, resettlement and reintegration process.