CBM launches app to aid life-saving relief for people with disabilities

The Humanitarian Hands on Tool is designed to help disabled people access life-saving relief services during emergencies

The disability charity CBM has launched a mobile app to help people with disabilities to find aid during disasters and emergencies.

The Cambridgeshire-based charity developed a set of guidelines that cover practical advice for field workers in emergency response scenarios on how to make relief services inclusive. To make the material available and provide a tool for users who have to implement guidance in the field, CBM partnered with Studio 24 to create the Humanitarian Hands on Tool.

Currently at prototype stage, the custom mobile app, which was built with a focus on accessibility, provides practical, step-by-step guidance that emergency workers can readily access to ensure their relief efforts leave nobody behind.

The content is grouped into topics such as nutrition, logistics and camp management, allowing field workers to quickly find individual task cards relevant to their situation and guide them on what to do in a disaster. With the app also available in multiple languages, users are able to access the content offline to ensure there is no gap in support in locations without internet access.

Feedback is being provided both by people with disabilities and by agencies providing emergency relief to ensure that the content is as relevant and full as possible.

Kirsty Smith, chief executive of CBM UK, says the app is a direct response to the problems disabled people can face.

"When disasters occur, people with disabilities are often among the worst affected and the last to receive help," she says.

"With a distinct lack of practical advice on disability in disaster scenarios, and with one in seven of the world's people living with some form of disability, a large number of people are missing out on life-saving relief services such as food, shelter or medical support."

Matt Harvey from Studio 24 said: "We are all aware that technology has the power to transform lives for the better, but it's easy to let that knowledge slip into the back of your mind when you're working with technology every day. Working on this hands-on tool provides us with constant reminders of the power technology has to improve people's lives and the barriers it can help to overcome."

The final version of HHOT is expected to be completed in 2017.

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