Although disasters are a common occurrence in the Caribbean, the burden is not shared equally throughout society. The vulnerability of a person or group of persons will affect their ability to cope and survive in a disaster. Older persons, as a group, are frequently identified as among the most vulnerable segments of the population.
While it is true that the vulnerability of older persons is gaining attention, much more needs to be done to meet their particular needs, while at the same time recognizing that they have unique capacities and contributions to make in preparing for and responding to disasters. It is important to keep in mind that a large segment of the over-age-60 population has one or more disability, whether physical, mental or sensory, and that this increases to more than 50% in the over-age-80 group.
This publication takes a look at older people in disaster situations, with a particular focus on the Caribbean, and provides an overview of considerations to ensure that this group of people has the required response to their needs in disasters.
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