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Women not just disaster ‘victims’

Wednesday 24 August 2016 | Published in Regional

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PACIFIC – UN Women says Pacific women are often painted as victims first and decision makers second in the aftermath of disasters.

The region is often hit by natural disasters with major cyclones devastating Vanuatu and Fiji in the past 18 months.

Aleta Miller of the UN Women’s Fiji office says women are more affected than men in the aftermath and should be included in disaster management planning. She said aid agencies often cast women as victims first and risk ignoring what is truly needed.

“Women’s groups are saying to me, ‘we aren’t just vulnerable, we don’t want you to portray us as a vulnerable group’.

“There are vulnerabilities, and vulnerabilities can be exacerbated but women and other groups are strong, they’re resilient’.”

She said UN Women has been training governments, civil societies and NGOs on planning appropriately for genders in the event of a disaster. - RNZI