In the chaos of natural disasters, many social systems break down. Ensuring that access to services, supports, and education in these circumstances is gender-equal is crucial for building community resilience and quick recovery.
An article in Briarpatch Magazine explores these concepts, focusing on Cuba’s response to Hurricane Sandy.
“According to the UNDP’s report on Gender and Disasters, women’s participation in different stages of disaster management – prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery – is critical to helping countries overcome disaster events.
“However, a gender-equitable response isn’t always applied in countries of the Global South, where the UN reports that women are 14 times more likely than men to die in a disaster. In the aftermath of catastrophic weather events, girls and women face risks related to sexual assault, rape, and abuse as a result of civil chaos and lawlessness. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, women living in displaced-person camps were 20 times more likely to report a sexual assault than women living in their homes.”
Since climate change will bring more frequent and intense disasters, it’s important for countries to properly plan for disaster response. Education, quick response, and access to services are all important- and equally important is the need to apply a gender lens.
For more on ACT’s work on extreme weather, click here.