Gender Vulnerability to DisastersProf. Ishrat ShamimInstitute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability StudiesUniversity of DhakaLecture 3
Seeing disasters differently•Natural hazard is often confused with natural disaster.What are disasters?Disasters are seen as sudden events that result in death and destruction; requires immediate, emergency relief.Natural hazards are usually cited as the cause of disasters and are sometimes viewed as ‘acts of the gods’ and divine punishment.
Natural hazard & disasters A hazard can be defined as a phenomenon that has the potential to cause injury to life, livelihoods and habitats. High winds, floods, landslides, droughts and earthquakes are all natural hazards. If unmanaged, that is, if natural hazards and their potential consequences are not prepared for, they become disastersthat take lives and damage livelihoods.
VulnerabilityVulnerabilityis set of conditions that affect the ability of countries, communities and individuals to prevent, mitigate, prepare for and respond to hazards. High levels of vulnerability increase the likelihood that nature hazards will be unmanaged and result in disaster.Although most natural hazards have the potential to be very destructive, they do not always turn into disasters. It is the combination of a natural hazard and vulnerability that leads to a disaster.
Forces of vulnerability to disaster A disaster occurs when a significant number of vulnerable people experience a hazard and suffer severe damage and/or disruption of their livelihood system is such a way that recovery is unlikely without external aid As disasters continue to affect more and more people, it becomes increasingly clear that the social, economic and political forces of development processes contribute to disasters. Aside from the sudden hazards that arise from nature, people may also be made vulnerable due to the changes wrought by the unequal distribution of resources, social and political processes that perpetuate inequality, global macro-economic forces, and uncoordinated, ill-planned development.
Understanding vulnerability to disaster Some groups are more vulnerable than others. Vulnerability is not just poverty, but the poor tend to be the most vulnerable due to their lack of choices. Influences of both poverty and development processes on people’s vulnerability to disasters are now well established. Class, caste, ethnicity, gender, disability and age are other factors affecting people’s vulnerability.Conditions of vulnerability are a combination of factors that include poor living conditions, lack of power, exposure to risk, and the lack of capacity to cope with shocks and adverse situations.
Types of Vulnerabilities Physical vulnerabilities are the hazard-prone locations of settlement, insecure and risky sources of livelihood, lack of access to basic production resources, lack of knowledge and information, and lack of access to basic services.