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Helping the Deaf community prepare for disasters begins with signing the signs of disaster.



Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are recognized globally to be particularly vulnerable in disaster and crisis situations resulting from natural calamities. This has been the motivation for the recent Sendai Framework for DRRM. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), particularly articles 11 and 32, requires that PWDs benefit from and participate in disaster relief, emergency response and DRR strategies.

In the Philippines, post - Haiyan reports by the country’s National Council on Disability Affairs and international NGOs such as Handicap International acknowledge accessibility concerns, particularly communication barriers for the deaf, majority of whom remain outside the school system, as leading causes of their vulnerability.

To increase access of the Deaf to hearing-led DRRM, relief and emergency response programs, this project will work with the public sector to develop a more disability-informed Disaster Preparedness Program towards more inclusive resilience building. A critical component shall be the (1) development and production of Filipino Sign Language (FSL) lexicon for climate-, disaster- and related signs, and corresponding informational materials; (2) institutionalization of disability-informed policies and practices through collaboration and training for stronger community participation.

What actions do you propose?

To improve communication and access of the Deaf to DRRM programs and increase the deaf community’s level of disaster preparedness, the following DRRM and preparedness tools have been identified: 

a. Disaster Preparedness Plan

1. Early Warning System, through the development of FSL vocabulary for DRRM, preparedness and climate change

2. Training of Deaf organizations and local DRRM teams to develop hazard maps of members of Deaf community, and disaster response protocols

3. Awareness raising through development of visual/video materials in FSL, and the optimization of available communications technology

Preparing for natural disasters and emergencies requires access to information, for example, typhoon preparedness information and notification of evacuation centre locations. Deaf people who use sign language require access to these same communications.

The use of various information and communications technology tools such as video smartphone, text or multimedia messaging, and other emerging accessible technologies, have revolutionised interaction opportunities especially for Deaf as well as persons with disabilities.

b. Disaster Response 

1. Psycho - social counselling (comforting, critical stress debriefing & prayers)

2. Emergency assistance, relief delivery, evacuation center, & medical mission

c. Disaster Recovery

1.Data collection system to document information about:

a. the hazard, losses and damages

b. the response efforts

d. Mitigation

Mitigate potential impacts by reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing capacities of Deaf communities.

The project outputs target institutionalization of practices in education and social services for disaster preparedness in the mitigation of disaster risks. As a pilot, it serves as a model for breaking barriers of inaccessibility faced by deaf children and youth, including those who are not educated in school.

Who will take these actions?

The project shall be managed by a DEAF team including a sign language interpreter and deaf staff, who will work in partnership with the Climate CoLob.Org. Locally, the deaf team will mobilize through its network of deaf organizations,but more importantly by working with the local government units responsible for DRRM and disaster preparedness programs.

Where will these actions be taken?

The implementation of the pilot programs shall be conducted in three (3) key localities within the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao where collaborate with the local DRRM and Deaf organization. There is estimated 5 – 10 deaf person/s in every 1,000 people through the provinces of the Philippines is further divided into 145 cities and 1,490 municipalities. However, it is indicated the target population density per province per square kilometer. 

Here is also list of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, cyclones and other natural disasters the Philippines has having to cope with during the past decade, almost teach one very important lesson: disaster preparedness is very important.

According to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, which places the population of hearing-impaired Filipinos at 1.4 million as of 2009. Of this number, 241,624 are deaf, 275,912 are partially deaf, while more than half a million have limited access to information as they are hard of hearing. Looking back, in the year of 2009, Philippines had a population of 91.02 million people.

What are other key benefits?

There are two primary target beneficiaries – the Deaf community and the network of DRRM practitioners.

For the Deaf community, the project hopes to build their resilience by capacitating them with the language, knowledge and skills to anticipate hazards, by ensuring that public services are responsive to deaf- and disability-centric impacts such as psychosocial trauma, and by empowering them to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

For DRRM practitioners, the project hopes to increase awareness of deaf- and disability-related issues and challenges in DRRM practice, improve communication with and access of Deaf communities to DRRM programs and services, and ensure that these programs and services are responsive to the needs and concerns of the Deaf community.

What are the proposal’s costs?

This proposed cost is expected for two years.

Module I – Breakdown according to the following components:

a. development of vocabulary and communication material

b. operational costs for meetings, coordination, consultation, & etc.

Module II – Field activities and dissemination

a. carry out for one week per, in key localities within the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

b. field expanses (local consultation, training, & meetings)

Total cost of this project is estimated $ 30, 574.77 (exchange rate moved within US dollar and Philippines pesos as of April 14, 2017).

Time line

The Deaf organizations network and local DRRM shall be disseminated as deliver service for training and advocacy intended on the said one (1) year - field activity, after improved with the DRR info materials and major component in one (1) year.

This long-term action is expected as the improve communications technology tools and information website online to disseminate for Deaf community.


Related proposals


1. Sendai Framework for DRRM,

2. 17th Congress Senators,!.pdf

3. Provinces of the Philippines,


5. Dumaguete Effata Association of the Deaf, Inc.,