Facebook and Twitter is alive with chatter of earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale that hit off Sumatra near the city of Padang at 6.16pm just now. A tsunami watch has been issued for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India. I did not feel a thing. Nothing moved. The water in the aquarium did not slosh about. The doors did not rattle unlike the time when even the floor moved under me for a good one minute or more and made me giddy.
Having moved to a single storey house now, I still feel for those who are staying in high rise apartments, especially people with mobility impairments. Section 40 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 (PWD Act 2008) states that disabled persons shall have the right to assistance in the event to natural disasters, among others.
I am interested in finding out if anything has been done to address this matter since my letter to Dato’ Seri Sharizat in May 9, 2005 regarding a systemtic evacuation plan for disabled people trapped in high rise buildings in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake or a fire. Dare I be optimistic and say that surely the government has done something since the PWD Act 2008 has already clearly spelt that out in as many words?