An early warning system (EWS) for floods at the community level comprises four inter-connected components: 1) Risk knowledge, 2) Monitoring and warning, 3) Dissemination and communication, and 4) Response capability. For ensuring the effectiveness of the system, every component should be accessible to everyone in the community, including persons with disabilities covering the diversity of disability, older persons, minority groups and other community members.
Consider these tips:
When providing information and preparedness measures for persons residing in flood prone areas, information has to be provided in an accessible way to make sure that everyone fully understands the risks, evacuation procedures and household preparedness.
Community mapping process should highlight, in a dignified manner, houses and settlements where persons with disabilities reside for ensuring swift evacuation and provision of life saving support in case of floods.
In case persons with disabilities live in areas prone to flash flood and/or landslides, persons with disabilities should be made aware of the risk and be supported for better preparedness through inclusive mock drills and personal safety exercises.
Community disaster management committees can monitor flood markers and gather information from media and the government. These committees can be supported by Self-Help groups, who in case of a flood, can inform the community and make sure that persons with disabilities and their families receive and understand the information.
Warning signals / warning dissemination systems should be available in audio format (bells, sirens, drums, etc.), signals, images and symbols (appropriate to the context), text and phone messages. Warnings through media should include radio, TV (with subtitles and sign language interpretation, expressive body language), easy-to-read messages and posters/leaflets, etc.
People who are identified as particularly at-risk or likely not to receive the early warning should be alerted through individual house visits.
If the flood requires evacuating or relocating communities, persons with disabilities should be kept together with their families or support networks, while ensuring easy access to basic services, as far as possible. Do not isolate persons with disabilities or their families in a separate location.
Disaster response teams and authorities in the districts should be trained and equipped with relevant skills for ensuring disaster response is inclusive and accessible of all persons with disabilities, older persons and other at-risk groups from the community.