Who Suffers Most?
Who Suffers Most?
Gendered Violence in Natural Disasters and their Aftermath
Chapter 9 investigates how global environmental forces in the form of natural disasters from floods, droughts, and famines to earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes affect the life expectancies of women and men differently. The first part of the chapter reveals that women's low social and economic status is a major determinant of their experiences during and after a disaster and conceptualizes natural disasters as social disasters that magnify existing, socially constructed inequalities and oppressions. Looking at the case of the South Asian tsunami disaster, the second part of the chapter investigates the gendered impact of the disaster in Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia, in terms of mortalities, increases in gender-based violence, the impact of humanitarian relief, compensation schemes, and recovery programs after the tsunami and the agency of women compared with men in decisions about reconstruction and future disaster preparedness and planning. The third part of the chapter argues that gender-sensitive planning and deliberation involving women can prevent this violence and offers some lessons based on primary research of responses to the 2009–10 Christchurch earthquakes. The final part of the chapter draws implications from these natural disasters for climate change and its impact on gendered violence.
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