Disaster Preparedness and Persons with Disabilities

I have not been able to ignore the fact that many of the people stranded in New Orleans post-Katrina are persons with disabiities. I used to live in New Orleans about 20 years ago and as I've watched the ordeal unfold this week, I have thought long and hard about how I would have been able to get out. When I lived in New Orleans, I did not bother to own a car for two years. Even when I owned a car I rarely used it because many people get around in New Orleans via public transportation. Other than New York City, I cannot think of another US city in which people have little use for cars. So it didn't surprise me that many people just couldn't leave.

I will set aside my thoughts about how much this whole thing has gone wrong this week for a different blog in a different place. Here at Ample Ramblings, I want to share five observations that make sense in light of our interests in inclusive travel:

1. Many of the people stranded by the storm were tourists.

2. Many of the people stranded by the storm were persons with disabilities.

3. I believe many of the people who died in the storm and its aftermath were persons with disabilities.

4. Emergency responders should have been more prepared to deal with persons with disabilities.

5. The clean-up and rebuilding effort to come has a great deal of opportunity for creating a more inclusive New Orleans and the aftermath of this storm highlights in the importance of understanding both travel and universal design.

Scott Rains over at RollingRains is saying it better than I ever could.

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