Key Considerations: Disability-Inclusive Humanitarian Action and Emergency Response in South and Southeast Asia and Beyond

Published on 4 July 2023

In many settings, people with disabilities face multiple and complex layers of environmental, societal and structural barriers. These barriers can lead to them being disproportionately harmed, neglected and excluded during humanitarian and other emergency responses. This is especially evident in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including Nepal and other South and Southeast Asian nations. Limited awareness of the needs of people with disabilities, entrenched social stigma, and inaccessible infrastructure can exacerbate the challenges they face in emergency situations. In addition, there has been little preparation and planning to make disaster and emergency planning disability inclusive.

This brief explores disability in the context of humanitarian and public health emergencies in South and Southeast Asia. Its focus is on Nepal, but the principles are universally relevant and can be adapted for any context. It is intended for stakeholders in government, civil society and the humanitarian sector. It aims to support stakeholders to better understand how structural inequities, alongside social and cultural norms and practices, exacerbate the marginalisation and exclusion of people with disabilities in emergencies. This brief presents examples of good practice for disability-responsive humanitarian and emergency planning and intervention. It also provides key considerations for actors aiming to support greater inclusion of people with disabilities in response. This brief draws on evidence from academic and grey literature, and from open-source datasets. It was authored by Obindra Chand (HERD International, University of Essex), Katie Moore (Anthrologica) and Stephen Thompson (Institute of Development Studies (IDS)), supported by Tabitha Hrynick (IDS). This brief is the responsibility of SSHAP.

Cite this publication

Chand, O.; Moore, K. and Thompson, T. (2023) Key Considerations: Disability-Inclusive Humanitarian and Emergency Response in South and Southeast Asia and Beyond. Social Science In Humanitarian Action (SSHAP) DOI:


Stephen Thompson

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies


About this publication

Related content