An Exploration of Inclusivity for Persons with Disabilities in Disaster Risk Management Planning at the National and Local Government Levels in Jamaica


  • Barbara Carby The University of the West Indies
  • Therese Ferguson The University of the West Indies
  • Shaughna-Lee Steele The University of the West Indies
  • Zainab Maiyaki The University of the West Indies



Persons with Disabilities, Disasters, Risk Management, Inclusivity, Jamaica


The Small Island State of Jamaica is vulnerable to various natural hazards; as a result, it faces threats to its economy, infrastructure, property, and populace. Disaster Risk Management (DRM), including preparedness, mitigation, and recovery, is critical for the nation. Central to this process is information provision and dissemination in order to enhance the public's understanding and management of these hazards.

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are a significant part of Jamaica's population, who require DRM information in special formats. This exploratory study examines the provisions made for PWDs in DRM at the national and local government levels in Jamaica. Surveys were utilised to gather information from national Government Ministries and local Parish Councils about DRM facilities in place for PWDs, access to DRM information for PWDs, and the extent of PWDs participation in DRM at these levels. Additionally, focus group consultations were held with PWDs from two educational institutions for PWDs to gather their perspectives on provision of information and special facilities for them.

Jamaica has taken the appropriate policy and legal steps to recognise the rights of PWDs by being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as developing a national policy and enacting legislation on PWDs. Additionally, government respondents showed a high level of awareness of the necessity of disability inclusion. The results, however, indicate that disability inclusiveness has not been achieved by many government entities charged with responsibility for policy implementation and with the responsibility of setting the example by obeying the country's laws. Recommendations are made to ensure full participation of PWDs in society including equal access to information, equal access to facilities and inclusion in DRM programming and planning.