The World Blind Union extends deepest sympathies and condolences to members affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 1,200 people in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. More than 48,000 people are sheltered in displacement sites.

On behalf of the WBU, we wish to express our full support and solidarity to our members of the Indonesian Blind Union who may have been affected by the disaster. You are in our thoughts and prayers in these difficult times of such crises.

As relief and rescue efforts continue, the WBU would like to take this opportunity to once again remind local authorities, first responders and humanitarian agencies to address the unique needs of blind and partially sighted persons in their disaster management operations.  We urge that any relief efforts take into consideration the needs of blind and partially sighted persons. It is critical that survivors of the disaster are provided with accessible information and communication services including braille, large print, and audio formats. Other relief services including medical, health, rehabilitation and re-settlement should also be accessible to the blind and partially sighted persons.

The WBU expresses full support and empathy to those who lost loved ones and thanks humanitarian organizations for their efforts to save lives.

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