More on floods in Pakistan and gender impact

// 3 September 2010

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floodwarsi.gifInformation on the gender impacts of the recent tragic flood in Pakistan is just now being parsed.

The Global Fund for Women has a guest post which brings together some of this information, particularly about how the flood and aftermath has impacted differently on women and men.

85% of flood survivors in camps are women, for example, according to statistics from the Reproductive Health in Crisis Consortium. Rafia Zakaria’s guest post at the GFW blog reports:

The immediate risk of disease is only one of the daunting concerns facing women. Current aid efforts do not consider the needs of women in the camps, especially those of lactating mothers and pregnant women. Workers visiting the camps have heard stories of women being beaten by husbands frustrated at the paltry aid available. In addition, cultural constraints prevent women from being able to find supplies themselves.

As the Association for Women’s Rights in Development summed up in its statement on the flood:

We stand in solidarity with all the women, men and children of Pakistan during this difficult time. In particular, we send a message of solidarity to the women of Pakistan, who for many years have contributed to upholding the struggle for peace and democracy throughout the country, and who continue to struggle for survival in the face of this unprecedented crisis.

Whilst the flooding has had a devastating impact on everyone in Pakistan with an estimated twenty million people displaced, and one-fifth of the country underwater, women are particularly affected. Due to gender norms that marginalize them, women and girls are more likely to fall through the gaps of emergency relief and reconstruction processes. They are often denied access to the provision of food relief and reproductive health services, while female-headed households, pregnant women and those with infants are particularly at risk. In post-disaster situations women also face an increased threat of violence, including sexual violence.

Meanwhile, efforts to raise money for the horrendous humanitarian crisis have stalled. Zakaria says:

While $1087.33 was collected per victim for Haiti’s earthquake, only $16.36 has been collected for the victims of Pakistan’s floods from donors worldwide.

As Jolene mentioned in her post about this last month, one of the many organisations needing support at this time is the Shirkat Gah, a women’s resource centre. Those links are broken now, but if you want to and can donate to support Shirkat Gah details are available at Madre and WLUML, and of course GFW also have a donation page to provide emergency support to women’s organisations, as well as long-term support.

Photo of minister without portfolio Baroness Warsi, with women affected by the flood in Pir Sabak, shared on Flickr by DFID

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