The World Report on Disability estimates that about 15 per cent of the world’s population have some form of disability, with disability prevalence likely to increase as a result of ageing populations and the global increase in chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health disorders.
Disasters and armed conflicts can also increase the number of persons with disabilities as people acquire new impairments and/or experience a deterioration in existing impairments from injuries and/or limited access to health care and rehabilitation. For instance, a survey of Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon found that 22 per cent had an impairment. However, accurate numbers can be hard to calculate due to lack of data disaggregation in humanitarian emergencies and differences in the way disability is defined and measured, while families may be reluctant to disclose disability due to fear of stigma and isolation. As a result, humanitarian programmes may inadequately document and consider the needs of persons with disabilities.