There are approximately 85 million persons living with some form of disability in the Americas and the Caribbean region. If we add to that their caregivers, families and support networks, it is clear that, either directly or indirectly, disability is a factor in the lives of a significant percentage of our population. Due to existing barriers in their environment, people with disabilities tend to live in situations of greater vulnerability than other social groups and are more likely to experience conditions of poverty or extreme poverty.
The magnitude of the emergency generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has far exceeded the response capacity of governments and other service providers. This particularly affects people with disabilities, who face additional barriers due to the way they interact with their surroundings as well as from a lack of or interruption to health services, support networks and other critical services.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted by United Nations member states in 2015 to achieve “the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.” In this regard, the Sendai Framework stresses the need to incorporate different perspectives based on the principles of inclusion.