New Zealand: Visually impaired experiences of earthquakes highlight gaps in disaster preparedness
An opt-in register for vulnerable people is being suggested as a way to better support people with disabilities during emergencies.
Dr Gretchen Good and Dr Suzanne Phibbs of Massey University's College of Health identified the need for a register through their study in which they documented the challenges that visually impaired Christchurch residents faced during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and aftershocks.
Good and Phibbs conducted 12 face-to-face interviews after the September 2010 quake, but prior to the 2011 February quake.
"Our research participants and one District Council have suggested that a registry of disabled persons is needed to ensure that assistance is made available to those who need it in an emergency, such as those who are vision impaired and live alone, those who rely on electricity for medical reasons, those who are hearing impaired and cannot access news and those who are mobility impaired and could not move in an emergency," Good said.