Women, Girls, and Disasters

More than 100 million women and girls are affected by disasters each year. They all have a right to be equipped for survival, and they all have a right to contribute to keeping their communities safe from harm.

GENEVA – Every year, more than 200 million people are affected by natural disasters. Many will bear the brunt of recurring floods, storms, or droughts, and the majority of them will be women and girls. Most of those affected by recurring disasters survive. In fact, in all but the poorest and most poorly run countries, deaths resulting from weather-related disasters are on the decline.

What is not on the decline, though, is our exposure to risk and the high price that we pay in terms of lost jobs, destroyed or damaged homes, and disruption to education, health services, and transport infrastructure.

Just as the most expensive hospital is the one that collapses during an earthquake, so the most expensive disaster-management plan is the one that fails to tackle the root causes of recurring disasters. A combination of inept urban planning and ignorance of the true economic cost of such events can all too easily allow valuable community assets to be swept away.

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