Protecting the blind and visually impaired in emergencies

May 20, 2024

Čačak, May 14, 2024 - Thanks to the ‘EU for Serbia Resilient to Disasters’ program, members of the Inter-Municipal Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired Čačak underwent a training on improving safety in emergencies. Furthermore, representatives of the blind and visually impaired also received Guides for Conduct in Emergencies in Braille.

’Blind and visually impaired people are our heroes whose safety is threatened daily. Alongside pregnant women, children, and the elderly, people with disabilities are in the priority categories for evacuation in emergencies. It is very important that they are empowered, educated, and prepared to act, that they know the basics of self-protection, as well as certain steps in the event of evacuation,’ highlighted Bratislav Zečević, Chief of the Department of Safety and Defense of the City of Čačak.

’Our association has 309 members in the Moravički District, most in Čačak, then in Gornji Milanovac, Lučani, and Ivanjica. Many of them live alone, have no one to rely on in case of a disaster. It is very important that they are ready, that they know how to respond, what to take with them in case of evacuation and how to facilitate the work of rescuers,’ stated Dejan Tomić, president of the Inter-Municipal Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired Čačak, thanking the donors for the support provided to blind and visually impaired people.

’In collaboration with UNDP, we have created a Guides for Conduct in Emergencies in Braille, to reach as many blind and visually impaired people as possible and prepare them for reaction in emergencies. In addition to the disaster risk reduction area, Caritas is dedicated to developing accessible communication and we strive to preserve the tradition of printing the materials in Braille,’ said Ana Đergović, project coordinator of Caritas Serbia.

Together with education plays, a crucial role in reducing risks and mitigating possible consequences in the event of natural disasters lies in the equipment the civil protection units use, such as mobile flood protection system donated by the EU through UNDP, which have for years protected the citizens of Čačak from increased water levels. On this occasion, UNDP in collaboration with Caritas Serbia, donated an additional 21 uniforms to the members of civil protection units of general-purpose, as well as to the newly appointed civil protection commissioner from the ranks of the Inter-Municipal Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired Čačak.

’We have already achieved numerous results, especially in cities and municipalities of the West Morava River Basin where the City of Čačak is also located. With the new donation, 71 members of civil protection are equipped to effectively respond in emergencies. We are pleased to be able to support local communities that recognize the importance of civil protection and invest in enhancing their capacities,’ stated Katarina Ivanović, from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).