Disaster Management for People with Communication Disorders: Lessons Learned from the 2023 Earthquakes in Türkiye

Namık Yücel Birol Esra Yaşar Gündüz

Purpose: In this review, based on the experiences of two devastating earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 that occurred in Türkiye on February 6, 2023, we aim to provide recommendations for earthquake preparedness, response, and recovery phases from the perspective of speech and language therapy for individuals with communication problems. Method: The traditional review method was used in this study. Conclusion: The 2023 Türkiye earthquakes highlight the importance of disaster preparedness and management plans that address the unique needs of people with communication disorders. We emphasize the role of speech and language therapists (SLTs) as essential contributors to disaster management teams and advocate for their inclusion in disaster planning efforts. SLTs can provide training to the whole community, including search and rescue and first aid personnel, on how to communicate with individuals with communication disorders. It is recommended that alternative and augmentative communication systems should include symbols containing earthquake-specific words and that these systems should be kept in the disaster kit. It is recommended that the approach and intervention for traumatized individuals be included in the curriculum of speech and language therapy. It is also recommended to provide speech and language therapy services to individuals with communication disorders in temporary accommodation areas and through teletherapy. By implementing the recommendations presented herein, we can take significant strides toward building a more inclusive and compassionate disaster management framework, one that prioritizes the voices and needs of all individuals, including those with communication disorders.


disasters, earthquake, people with communication disorders, speech and language therapy, Türkiye


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