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Disabled People and Disaster Recovery

Dr Mark Priestley and Laura Hemingway


This research was undertaken in response to concerns raised by disability activists and aid agencies following the disaster events of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2004-5. The purpose was to rapidly investigate and record the impact of disaster on disabled people and the response patterns of relief and recovery agencies. We have been particularly interested in the increasing capacity of disabled people's organisations and networks to respond to disasters, and argue that the disability community should be seen as agents rather than victims in disaster recovery and preparedness.

If your organisation has been involved in the response to the Tsunami or Katrina, then we would very much welcome your experiences to add to those we received in the initial research. 

Published Papers

The findings are summarised in two published papers:

Priestley, M. and Hemingway, L. (2006) Disabled People and Disaster Recovery: a tale of two cities?Journal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation, 5(3/4): 23-42

Hemingway, L. and Priestley, M. (2006) Natural hazards, human vulnerability and disabling societies: a disaster for disabled people?Review of Disability Studies, 2(3): 57-67