USAID Response to Disability Issues in Haiti Response and Recovery

January 25, 2010

Disasters are always inclusive. Response and recovery are not, unless we plan for it.”[1]

USAID is actively working to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are being addressed amidst the response and recovery efforts in Haiti. USAID’s is acutely aware of the access and functional needs of people with disability and is working to offer service providers and coordinating bodies the information required to guide inclusive response efforts.

A Working Group (WG) of technical experts from USAID, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been formed and has begun to establish guidelines and procedures for a coordinated U.S. Government response to the functional needs of Haitians with disabilities. The WG is also developing strategies for the emergency, transitional, and long-term phases of the recovery efforts.

Immediately, the Working Group will:

-       Recommend that disability issues be formally represented at Task Force Meetings.

-       Consolidate information on U.S. Government (USG) agency involvement in Haiti and expand the USG Working Group as necessary.

-       In consultation with Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and other experts, develop and disseminate resource documents and tools on best practices to ensure the  response and recovery is inclusive of people with disabilities.

-       Compile information on who is doing what in Haiti with regard to disability in order to access existing capabilities on-the-ground to rapidly expand services.

-       Ensure Federal Agency response to disability issues is documented and disseminated.

In addition to working directly with other Federal Agencies, USAID will coordinate its efforts with DPOs and the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), who has established a Working Group focused on the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince.

USAID’s Leahy War Victim’s Fund, Wheelchair and Disability programs have extensive experience in restoring mobility (through provision of physical rehabilitation, artificial limbs, wheelchairs, mobility devices) and have promoted inclusive development practices in over 50 countries worldwide. USAID will engage with its development partners to assess their current level of involvement in Haiti, guide recovery efforts in a coordinated fashion and make funds available for recovery and development efforts in the future.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact: Rob Horvath, rhorvath@usaid.gov or Sue Eitel, seitel@usaid.gov


[1] June Isaacson Kailes