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Report of the CIB Expert Seminar on Building Non-Handicapping Environments, Harare 1992


Self-protection of persons with disabilities in emergency situations

Amir Nourani, Ministry of Interior, Tehran, Iran


After the Second World War, statistics indicate that war action, in contradiction with International Regulations and humanitarian issues, is mostly directed against civilians, particularly in the Developing World. Evidence of war in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Iran/Iraq war, as well as the very recent Persian Gulf War, reveals that defenceless and vulnerable groups were targeted in order to weaken the opposition morally and wear down their resistance. In light of the above, this paper deals primarily with the training of one of the most vulnerable of these groups - disabled people - in self-protection in the event of an emergency. Here we would like to discuss in detail the procedures for training people with disabilities and their families in the use of special equipment and facilities as well as in the preparation for emergency situations. Also, we will discuss the transformation of the built environment into one that allows the disabled person adequate mobility. Here the architects and engineers have been consulted and their ideas combined to provide the most comprehensive results.

In the second segment of the discussion we will present suggestions that are necessary to gain government assistance in order to get the plans and revisions put into action. Several disabled individuals were questioned regarding their top priority needs that are still unmet in their daily lives. We offer appropriate solutions to these unmet needs and also offer plans to be submitted to our government for the implementation of these solutions. It is our belief that most likely, similar plans may be adopted for the governments of the other participating nations at this seminar.

We welcome this opportunity to share with the other developing countries of the world the progress that the Islamic Republic has made in this area, since the issue of disability has been a very prominent one since the Iran/Iraq war, when so many of our citizens were injured.

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