Lessons learned from the world trade center disaster: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities in New York September 2004 contents

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CIDNY consumer case file

  1. There is a lack of disaster services specifically needed by people with disabilities.

Many of the disaster response and recovery efforts were not structured to meet specific needs of people with disabilities.

    • Methods of outreach, both for evacuation immediately after the disaster and for overcoming the isolation that kept people uninformed of available help and how to get it, did not take into account ways in which to reach people who were homebound or with limiting cognitive or psychiatric conditions.

    • There lacked mental health professionals experienced in working specifically with people with disabilities.

    • Knowledge of benefits as they relate to people with disabilities -- such as SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, housing accommodations – was not incorporated into initial disaster relief efforts.

    • There were no planned programs for assisting with the replacement of durable medical and other related equipment and medicine destroyed, lost or left behind.

    • There were no planned programs dealing with reimbursement for accessible transportation or accessible hotel accommodations.

An employee at the World Trade Center saw 19 of her co-workers die before she escaped. The trauma triggered a stroke, which made her blind. She had no idea that she was eligible for financial assistance as a survivor of 9/11 until she got in touch with CIDNY seven months after the World Trade Center disaster. The consumer was referred to CIDNY by her daughter, a California resident, after her employer notified her that she would be fired if she did not return to work by the end of the month.

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