Humanitarian policy

An older woman in the Philippines after typhoon Ketsana, October 2009. There needs to be a greater understanding of older people's needs in humanitarian policy. Photo: Ed Gerlock/HelpAge International As well as assisting older people in our own emergency programmes, HelpAge works closely with national and international humanitarian actors to influence policy and practice to ensure the specific needs of older people are addressed.

In emergencies, older men and women are some of the most vulnerable due to age-related concerns.

However, older people also play crucial roles within families and communities and should be central to disaster response and recovery.

The principles of humanitarian action require humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance impartially, to focus on the most vulnerable and ensure they are included in assistance. However, evidence shows the needs and capacities of older people are often not reflected in the provision of humanitarian aid.

During needs assessments, the lack of data disaggregated by age and gender means older people's vulnerabilities are often not recognised. For example, older people's specific health needs will not be addressed if the numbers of people suffering from chronic conditions are not recorded.

Addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, including older people, cannot be an afterthought. To influence how humanitarian actors address the needs of older people, HelpAge carries out a number of activities, including:  

Tags for this page