International Day for Disaster Reduction

Preparing for disasters, rebuilding in the aftermath

Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gender matters when it comes to disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action. Disasters kill more women than men, hit women’s livelihoods hardest and violence against women and girls spikes during disasters. Strengthening women’s role in disaster risk reduction, humanitarian action and recovery efforts lead to more inclusive and sustainable solutions. On International Day for Disaster Reduction, 13 October, UN Women spotlights women’s rights and potential for building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

Jeremie, one of the most affected areas by Hurricane Matthew in the Grande Anse Department, Haiti. Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi
Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

UN Women provides immediate support to women in Grande Anse after Hurricane Matthew
On October 11, UN Women staff in Haiti visited Jeremie, one of the most affected areas by Hurricane Matthew in the Grande Anse Department, and met with women's organizations, civil society and local authorities to discuss and respond to the most urgent challenges that women and girls are facing after the catastrophic storm. Read more»

Women are rebuilding Ecuador, literally

Women working on the reconstruction of Las Gilces, Ecuador. Photo: UN Women/Romina Garzón
Photo: UN Women/Romina Garzón

When 35-year-old Veronica Lucas Melo and other women in her community took up construction work, people were surprised. The earthquake in Ecuador earlier this year had impacted some 720,000 people—half of them women and girls—and left devastation in its wake. When Mrs. Lucas Melo heard about the “Cash for Work” programme to reactivate the local economy, she saw her opportunity to gain new skills and find a new source of income. Read more»


Disasters: What’s gender got to do with it?

UN Women’s Aleta Miller with Hon Parveen Bala Kumar (Fiji’s Minister of Local Government), and Suzanne Bent (First Secretary of Gender Equality for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Fiji) in Rakiraki at the handover of tents that act as a temporary market space while the new market house is being built. Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd

Even disasters discriminate. More women die in disasters than men. Women face even greater risks of violence in the aftermath and their ability to make an income is often more affected. They end up caring for even more people – other people’s children, the elderly, the injured. Considering this reality, and on World Humanitarian Day, we have to ask ourselves: Where are the women’s voices in disaster planning, response and recovery in the Pacific? Can you hear them? Read the op-ed by Aleta Miller, UN Women Representative at the Fiji Multi-Country Office. Read more»


UN Women supports a declaration on disaster risk management by women from earthquake-affected areas in Nepal

National Conference on Women in Gender Responsive Disaster Management. Photo: UN Women

On 25 April 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, followed by another powerful 7.3-magnitude quake on 12 May. “Strengthening the role of women and girls in disaster risk reduction is critical for achieving gender equality and empowerment and building disaster resilience of communities,” said Ziad Seikh, UN Women Representative in Nepal at the recently concluded national conference that adopted the Kathmandu Declaration on disaster risk management. The 15-point Kathmandu Declaration 2016 calls for a gender-responsive reconstruction approach, programmes that offers economic empowerment opportunities to women affected by earthquake, special package for women with disabilities and those from the marginalized communities, and 50 percent women representation in the National Reconstruction Authority at all levels. Read more»