Dalit rights organisation, National Dalit Watch – NCDHR, has issued a press release pushing for action to directly address the issue of caste discrimination in disaster response and prevention, in India’s coming Disaster Risk Reduction Plan.
It is a well-documented fact that in disaster situations Dalits are often discriminated against when it comes to relief work as well as rebuilding homes, livelihoods and offering compensation for assets lost. It has therefore been a key demand from human rights campaigners for many years that India address caste discrimination directly and openly in its disaster risk response work.
Nonetheless, the coming plans currently being consulted on have thus far failed to do this adequately. In the press release NDW states,
“While it is heartening to note that in the debates and deliberations of the 2nd NPDRR the Government of India has tried its best to arrive at a comprehensive set of actions to fight with DRR, there has been a serious lapse in deliberating on and recognising the vulnerabilities of Dalits and other socio-economically excluded communities in disaster prone areas, thus enhancing the possibility of further exclusion.”
The press release also outlines key issues faced by Dalit communities in disaster situations and response work and offers several recommendations on how to remedy the situation.