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WBU calls for accessible relief services after earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia and typhoon in Japan

The World Blind Union extends deepest sympathies and condolences to members affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 1300 people in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there are nearly 200,000 people in urgent need of assistance.

Meanwhile, the WBU expressed empathy to those affected by typhoon Trami which struck Japan last Sunday. The powerful typhoon with gusts of up to 216 km/h killed two people and caused widespread disruption, with many flights and trains cancelled. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated as more than 750,000 homes lost power. At least 120 people were injured.

As relief and rescue efforts continue in Indonesia and Japan, the WBU would like to take this opportunity to once again remind local authorities, first responders and humanitarian agencies to address the unique needs of blind and partially sighted persons in their disaster management operations.  We urge that any relief efforts take into consideration the needs of blind and partially sighted persons. It is critical that survivors of the disaster are provided with accessible information and communication services including braille, large print, and audio formats. Other relief services including medical, health, rehabilitation and re-settlement should also be accessible to the blind and partially sighted persons.

On behalf of the WBU, we wish to express our full support and solidarity to our members of the Indonesian Blind Union and all members in Japan who may have been affected by the disasters. We wish them strength and courage at these difficulty times of crises.

The WBU also thanks humanitarian organizations for their efforts to save lives. ​​​​
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