Disaster Preparedness, Gender and Vulnerable Coastal Communities


Vol NO: VOL. 14, ISSUE 83,

"India is one of the most vulnerable countries that are recurrently prone to natural disasters, cyclone being one of the most prominent. Perhaps more stark than the calamities is the marginalisation of women during and post disasters; being increasingly exposed to crime, unsafe delivery and poor nutrition. Moreover, breakage of community linkages and the matrix of dependency show that disaster preparedness lacks gender sensitisation at its core. Even today women are looked upon as victims and the perception of their ‘helplessness’ undermines the natural potential to manage efficient linkages before, during and after a disaster. The aspect came to further light from a study conducted by the G’nY team in the Raichak area, about 300 km from the cyclone core of Balasore in Odisha and approximately 60 km south of Kolkata, and Mousani in Sunderban, 90 odd km south of Kolkata.  Recent disasters in India and women personnel deployed by the NDRF[/caption] West Bengal is ranked third in the number of cyclones in India with a cyclone probability of 0.6 per year, i.e. at least one cyclone every second year (Indian Meteorological Department records for 1891 to 2006). Thus, preparedness is an important aspect in the region.

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    Sulagna Chattopadhyay

    Coastal populations, especially those of the east coast of India, are prone to frequent cyclonic calamities. Women’s participation in distribution, rebuilding, management and all other aspects of disaster is imperative for fostering responsive and sensitive partners who can mitigate the vulnerability status.

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