Got quoted in an article that showed up on the frontpage of one of the Big 3 newspapers today!
UN: Involve women in disaster efforts
By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – Women should be allowed to participate in the crafting of policies designed to mitigate the effects of disasters, the United Nations said yesterday.
In a statement issued on the International Day for Disaster Reduction, Pratibha Mehta, UN resident coordinator in Vietnam, said the strength of women in reducing disaster risks should be recognized.
“Too often, women and girls are portrayed as just passive victims of disasters. Yet women and girls have unique skills and expertise which must be used and reflected in national policies and actions,” Mehta said.
“It is essential to make full use of the experience and knowledge women and girls have when addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation,” she added.
Oct. 13 marks the UN International Day for Disaster Reduction and the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management. The theme for this year is “Women and Girls, the (in)Visible Force of Resilience.”
Jerry Velasquez, senior regional coordinator of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction for Asia and the Pacific, said more women than men die as direct and indirect results of disasters.
“This effect is strongest in countries with very low social and economic rights for women,” he said.
Velasquez cited the case of cyclone “Nargis” in Myanmar, where about 61 percent of the fatalities were women. He said the women fatalities during the 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh were four times greater than those among men.
Velasquez said disasters and climate change-related events have different effects on women and men.
“This is due to the different roles they occupy, the different responsibilities given to them in life, and the differences in their capacities, needs and vulnerabilities,” Velasquez said.
“In the aftermath of disasters, women’s workload often increases as they become the sole breadwinners for their families when men die, are injured or migrate,” he added.
Velasquez noted that women in the Philippines have occupied key policy-making roles.
Of the 284 members of the House of Representatives, 65 or almost 23 percent are women. Three women also made it to the 23-person Philippine Senate.
“In other countries, women are often missing from the decision-making processes related to disaster risk management, such as post disaster assessments, recovery programming, and disaster reduction,” he said.
Women, Velasquez said, are still seen as victims only, not as active agents of change.
“Thus, women’s contributions to community-led responses and recovery activities and their specific skills and knowledge are not yet sufficiently recognized and utilized across the region,” he said.
Last year, the Philippines ranked third among 173 countries in terms of vulnerability to disaster risks and natural hazards in the World Risk Index released by the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security.
The study said the Philippines is “heavily affected by extreme natural events” due to its exposed position in the Pacific Ocean.
The Philippines is only lower in rank than Vanuatu, the country with the highest risk, and Tonga, which ranked second.
A social media campaign aimed at encouraging the public to help in reducing the risks posed by disasters was launched the other day by local and international groups.
The iCOMMIT campaign seeks to raise awareness and encourage action through sharing of views on how people can build safer communities.
It was launched a day before the UN International Day for Disaster Reduction and the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management.
Humanitarian groups Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, CARE Nederland, Plan International, Christian Aid, Handicap International, Coalition of Services of the Elderly and the European Commission director general for humanitarian aid and civil protection led the launch.
Gabriela Luz, humanitarian program officer of Oxfam, said they opted to conduct an online campaign due to the popularity of social networking sites in the country.
There are about 30 million Facebook users and six million Twitter users in the Philippines.
“It (online campaign) is an easy way to create awareness about disasters and to get people to post DRR (disaster risk reduction) commitments,” Luz said.
“Time and again, Internet-based social media platforms have proven to be a powerful platform to mobilize collective action on important issues,” she added.
Internet users can support the campaign by stating what they intend to do to reduce disaster risks and promote awareness in vulnerable communities.
Through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr, people can make a commitment by writing: “I commit to…” and then their short pledge.
Social networking sites users should use the hash tag #icommittodrr to join the advocacy. They are also requested to link their commitment to the #icommittodrr Facebook page wall.
Internet users are also encouraged to “like” the #icommittodrr page and to share posts on the page.
Sorry I haven’t been posting as much! Been crazy busy with work and launching a social media campaign entitled #icommittodrr in time for International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
If you’re interested in finding out how you can help to reduce risks in disasters, check out the Facebook page at here! It’s not just for the Philippines but Disaster Risk Reduction needs to be accomplished worldwide.
Through the hashtag #icommittodrr and beginning with “I Commit…”, the #icommittodrr campaign invites people, groups and organizations to show their support for Disaster Risk Reduction by publicizing personal commitments in Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogs, Instagram, Tumblr and other social media outlets.
This is a typical Philippines now every time there’s a typhoon or monsoon rains. We were hit last week by incredible monsoon rains that flooded literally 80% of the capital, Manila.
This is the reason I find it hilarious when people don’t believe in climate change and global warming. Freak storms in the summer, intense rainfall, droughts, unexpected snow storms, heat waves, intense cold. These are all the new normal.
Now it’s not too difficult to be paranoid and imagine that this is the start of the era that will begin to have reverse seasons. (i.e. Australia will finally be normal).
Welcome to the new normal.