“Human rights in disasters: Search and Rescue Operations in disasters especially for vulnerable people”
National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in cooperation with the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA) and the General Secretary of Civil Protection in Greece (ECFF/GSCP) have organized a workshop entitled “Human rights in disasters: Search and Rescue Operations in disasters especially for vulnerable people” that took place on the 5th and 6th of November 2009, at Electra Palace in Athens, Greece.
The issue of Human rights in disasters, concerning search and rescue of specific groups of population that are considered vulnerable due to mobility problems, sight or hearing difficulties, is considered one of the upcoming challenges to investigate new sectors regarding “natural disasters and human factor”. Coping with such particularities can contribute to the limitation of impacts that disasters usually have on these groups. In many cases, there is a lack of procedures and specialized technologies for protecting vulnerable groups of population in case of a disaster.
This workshop aimed at developing a network of people and organizations which will encourage and reinforce research and development of procedures capable of supporting vulnerable groups in case of a natural disaster. Among the expected outputs of the workshop were the identification of policies and strategies in order to increase the capabilities for coping with disasters, focusing on people with disabilities.
The workshop was structured around the following major issues:
1) Human rights and disasters : An overview
2) Adapting search and rescue operations: How to search and rescue the elderly and people with disabilities (e.g. mobility problems, sight or hearing impairment); What are the existing approaches; Identify the gaps; Define new requirements.
3) Enhancing emergency plans
4) Preparedness and preventive measures
5) Building a common understanding- Recommendations