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World News in Brief: Reducing disaster risk for persons with disabilities, Afghan quake latest, global aid funding off track

Persons with disabilities face a “shocking lack of support” with no progress in the last decade, despite a huge increase in climate disasters worldwide, the new UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) report states, and that lack of progress could be a violation of international law.

Persons with disabilities make up 16 per cent of the world’s population and suffer an overall death rate due to disasters that is two to four times higher than the general population.

Comprehensive survey

The survey captured over 6,000 responses from 132 countries to evaluate progress on government policies that should be offering protection.

An initial survey focused on disability was conducted in 2013 and comes ahead of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction marked on Friday, on the theme of fighting inequality. 

The new survey found limited progress on disability inclusion over the past ten years, with no significant advances in any region.

Specifically, 84 per cent of respondents in 2023 reported not having a personal preparedness plan in case of a disaster, such as knowing evacuation routes, available shelters and stocking up on emergency supplies.

In 2013, this figure was 71 per cent.

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Notably, the 2023 findings show that if sufficient early warning is provided, 39 per cent of respondents reported they would have no difficulty evacuating, compared to 26 per cent, if there was no warning.

Afghanistan: More than 5,000 quake victims reached, WHO reports

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) has reached 5,625 of the survivors most impacted by the earthquakes that struck the Herat region of Afghanistan over the weekend and again on Wednesday.

In an update, the health agency reported that just over 4,000 have received primary healthcare including mental health support, and over 1,000 were helped with trauma and rehab services.

Latest reports estimate that just over 11,000 people – some 1,835 families – have been impacted overall.

As of Wednesday night, WHO reported damage to 21 health facilities across 10 different districts, more than half of the destruction occurred as a result of the fresh earthquake and aftershocks that day.

A 650-bed regional hospital in Herat, received many of the injured, with 141 patients transferred there, including two in a critical condition, said WHO. 

As of 10 October, the death toll stood at 1,294, with nearly 1,700 injured. 

Global funding for aid off-track: OCHA

Humanitarians face a funding shortfall of $37 billion to respond to emergencies which affect millions of people in need around the world.

That’s the message from UN humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA), which said on Thursday that out of the more than $55 billion required to assist 248 million people this year, donors have provided just under a third of that as of the end of September – that’s even less than this time last year.

OCHA said the monthly decrease of global humanitarian funding is “of great concern”.

The humanitarian response plans for the Central African Republic and Somalia have seen the sharpest funding shortfalls compared to last year, by as much as 33 per cent less in the case of Somalia.

Funding for eight other humanitarian emergencies in Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mozambique, Syria and Venezuela has dropped by more than 10 per cent.

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