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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Statement on Hurricane Ida

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) joins the concern of the people of the Gulf Coast region as Hurricane Ida makes its path toward landfall. The National Weather Service reports that Ida will move into the Gulf of Mexico tonight and Saturday and make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday. Ida is expected to be a major hurricane when it makes direct impact with New Orleans on this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The risk of life-threatening storm surge inundation and dangerous major hurricane force-winds are increasing for parts of the northern Gulf Coast region along with heavy rain and flooding.

The dense population, neglected infrastructure, and concerns for a region constantly impacted by natural disasters are a combination that are particularly troubling for disabled people who could be impacted by this weather event.  This part of the US is just entering the season most vulnerable to severe weather. Providing services and supports both during times of uncertainty leading into and in the aftermath of natural disaster highlight the critical role Centers for Independent Living (CILs) play for disabled and aging members of our communities. We send our support to the area CILs and their advocates as they help people prepare for the potential impact, and as we know they will efficiently spring into action to help disabled and aging people respond to this disaster, if necessary.

Following the themes from our recent Stakeholder call organizing advocacy to support disaster preparedness and response legislation in Congress, the Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion for Disasters Act (REAADI, S. 2658 / H.R. 4938) and The Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRMA, S. 2646 / H.R. 4937) held Friday, August 20th, Reyma McCoy McDeid, NCIL Executive Director, reiterated the critical role of CILs in disasters. “Centers for Independent Living demonstrate time and again that they are more than just agents for integrating disabled and aging people into communities. CILs are critical first responders, ensuring communities include people with disabilities when they respond to disasters and integral partners when communities rebuild from disasters. We keep each other safe and living in the community.”

NCIL stands with the disability community as we face the potential of another natural disaster within the ongoing pandemic, and reminds potentially impacted CILs that NCIL has an established disaster response fund available, should the need arise.  Support CILs that have been impacted by natural disasters by selecting “disaster relief fund” from the “select a campaign” drop box on NCIL’s donation page.

Access NCIL’s REAADI/DRMA webpage, which has resources, including a toolkit, to assist you in advocating for the inclusion of disabled people in emergency preparedness initiatives in your state.   

Together, we can ensure that our people stay safe and in the community.