Protecting older people in emergencies: good practice guide

When communities are struck by conflict or natural disaster, older people are among the most vulnerable people affected. Some need targeted assistance or specific approaches within general assistance to address their needs. However, humanitarian programmes often fail to recognise the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by older people – either because they do not meet their programming criteria or because their needs are not fully understood. Older people play crucial roles within society, and are often pivotal in supporting response and recovery to disasters. Many care for children and make essential contributions to family income, while others hold important roles as community leaders or as holdersof community knowledge and tradition. In overlooking older people’s roles and their needs, we also overlook the needs of their families and dependents, and forgo a potentially central part of community recovery. This briefing, From HelpAge International, draws on 14 field projects to highlight common challenges of supporting older people, and highlights best practice approaches to protect older people’s rights.