Four international non-governmental organizations, including Handicap International, have launched the Aging and Disability Task Force (ADTF) in Manila, May 29.
Other members of the consortium are the Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation, Inc., CBM, and HelpAge/Coalition of Services of the Elderly (HelpAge/COSE).
According to its leaders, the ADTF will work to ensure that the rights of older people and persons with disabilities are observed by humanitarian actors, in adherence to various local and international laws.
More specifically, the ADTF will promote the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities in the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and to future disasters in the Philippines. It will also aim to ensure that the said groups of people are included in relief and recovery strategies, as well as in national policy making.
“Age and disability are two critical sectors that are often ignored in the assessment of humanitarian needs and operations,” said HelpAge/COSE Executive Director Fransiskus Kupang. “Majority of [the said sectors] cannot count on family and community support [alone]. We need to address their specific needs, especially during emergencies. This is where the ADTF comes in.”
According to the ADTF, Typhoon Haiyan affected more than 10 million people, of which hundred of thousands are already old or have disabilities.
Today only four INGOs form part of the ADTF. But the group is open to all humanitarian actors interested in ensuring there is age and disability sensitivity in their own work and in the wider humanitarian community.