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Women's inclusion vital

Priya Chand
Saturday, December 15, 2012

FemLINKPacific is calling for gender-inclusive preventative measures during Fiji's cyclone season.

With the experience of its rural network, and presenting a disaster risk management (DRM) to the divisional planning officer (West), FemLINKPacific hopes the provincial and district officers and the National Disaster Management offices are given the required resources to ensure proactive engagement with women in preparing disaster risk reduction and management strategies.

FemLINKPacific executive director Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls said this was important because women were at the centre of all planning and disaster management activities from the household to community level.

Ms Bhagwan-Rolls said food security plans should be put in place and promoted to ensure all vulnerable groups especially children, the elderly and those who relied on specific medication and dietary needs had access to nutritious meals, should they be required to evacuate. She said efforts must be made to ensure food gardens and nurseries were well protected during the cyclone season.

"Proactive planning must be done to ensure evacuation centres are opened early and communities assisted to access centres particularly for flood-prone communities, many of whom are still recovering from the floods earlier this year," said Ms Bhagwan-Rolls.

She said it must be ensured that all disaster risk reduction and management strategies were inclusive of persons with disabilities, women and children, the elderly and were safe for all communities.

"All evacuation supplies should include basic necessities for babies, the elderly and persons with disabilities including underwear and sanitary and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) commodities," she said.

"Communities need to access information in a way in which they can decipher technical and weather information which should be provided on a regular basis especially on radio and TV," she said.





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