Natural disasters do not affect people equally; they strike vulnerable groups, particularly women and children the hardest. When typhoon Ketsana struck Vietnam in 2009, 163 people died and 616 people were injured, the majority of whom were women.
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the world’s most disaster prone areas and home to roughly 60 per cent of the world’s population. The reality is that when disasters strike, the inequalities experienced by women are heightened. Women are not only expected to carry the burden of providing care, food and shelter for their families but are also placed at a much greater risk of violence, especially rape and domestic violence.
Unfortunately, increased risks of violence during disasters can lead women to avoid using emergency shelters because of fears of sexual assault. Women’s physical insecurities are further compounded by lowered life expectancies; they are 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster.
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs are remedying the disproportionate impact of disasters on women. DRR programs provide women with the opportunity to redress gender inequalities by involving them in disaster planning and addressing their post-disaster needs.
This Christmas, UN Women Australia is raising funds to strengthen the role played by women in responding to natural disasters. Working with the Vietnamese Women’s Union, UN Women is raising funds to improve the capacity of Vietnamese women to respond to natural disasters and reduce the risks faced by women during and after natural disasters.
Buying a Global Gift from UN Women Australia empowers women in rural Vietnam, builds their disaster resilience and saves lives. You can provide women in rural Vietnam with improved access to information on disaster planning by purchasing a Global Gift which funds a Vietnamese ‘Radio Opera’ program that raises community awareness about what to do in a natural disaster.
Alternatively, your gift could provide Vietnamese women with training and skills in disaster planning and preparedness. Investing in UN Women Australia’s Christmas campaign provides support at a community level to help women in rural Vietnam plan for a better future.