COPING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY WITH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THE COASTAL ZONE OF BANGLADESH
Keywords:people with disabilities, coping strategies, coastal zone, natural disasters
Coastal zone of Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to different nature induced hydrological and climatological disasters. Disaster disproportionately affects a different group of populations. Among them, “people with disabilities” (PWDs) regardless of their gender face severe challenges in a disaster situation. The response mechanisms of disabled people in disaster context are also different. This paper aimed to examine the coping strategies of PWDs with a natural disaster in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 150 disabled people from Mongla sub-district, Rampal sub-district and Sharankhola sub-district of Bagerhat district. Most of the respondents (60%) did not receive any training on disaster preparedness but the majority of them (88%) had knowledge on the location of the nearest disaster shelters and took shelter at government listed centers before or during the disaster. They were not satisfied with the facilities and services of those disaster shelters. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the respondents received disaster forecasting through electronic media. More than one-fifth of the respondents (22.7%) changed their occupations after a major disaster and one-fourth of the respondents (26.7%) were displaced or migrated from their original house as a consequence of the disaster. Although disabled people are one of the most vulnerable groups in disaster milieu, they have drawn limited attention by the policymakers, academicians and development organizations. This paper provides few coping strategies of disabled people that will help the policymakers to think and take disabled friendly measures in policy documents and development interventions.
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