People with disabilities (PWDs) are uniquely vulnerable in general and in situations of or in relation to climate-related migration. This stems from an intersection of personal characteristics, such as limited mobility or sensory disabilities (such as blindness or deafness), and social factors, such as lack of accommodations during disaster response or no accessible transportation along migration routes. As climate change progresses, PWDs will arguably be the single most vulnerable population group to its many consequences, yet they have thus far been left out of nearly all policy discussions regarding adaptation and risk management.
This policy brief looks at climate-related migration from the disability perspective to understand the unique characteristics of PWDs, as well as factors that need to be taken into account to address the vulnerability and needs of PWDs during evacuation, transit and relocation. The author calls for a rights-based approach for disability-inclusive planning to protect the lives and well-being of people with disabilities.