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Protection of women during disasters sought

September 14, 2014

TOKYO – Sen. Loren Legarda has called for increased protection of women and girls during conflicts and disasters around the world.

Legarda said it is important to make gender-sensitive and risk-sensitive development policies, plans and programs.

“We need to capacitate women as part of the overall strategy on disaster risk reduction and management,” Legarda told fellow female leaders during the first World Assembly of Women convened by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here.

“Nations are gaining progress in promoting gender equality and women’s rights, but challenges will never go away and in most communities, there are continuing barriers to women empowerment. The vulnerability of women to disasters is among the challenges that must be addressed with urgency,” she stressed.

The lawmaker encouraged other participants in the high-level conference to turn such vulnerability into opportunities to get involved in disaster resilience and climate adaptation efforts.

Legarda noted that disasters affect yearly about 200 million people all over the world, half of them women or girls. And the displacement of women from their homes put them at greater risk of sexual violence and of falling prey to human traffickers.

“These disaster impacts on women convey to us the importance of making gender-sensitive and risk-sensitive development policies, plans and programs,” Legarda said.

“We must demand that there is gender sensitivity in the setting up of relocation for affected victims in disaster areas,” she added.

When Super Typhoon Yolanda lashed the country last year, more than 3.5 million women and girls were affected. Of this number, 250,000 were pregnant and 169,000 were breastfeeding, which means they have distinct nutritional needs that make it tougher for them to cope with disasters, Legarda pointed out.

“To empower women is to reduce their vulnerability to disasters,” she added.

Source: Philstar