Dear friends and colleagues,

It has been a tragic month for many of us living in the Asia-Pacific areas where recent disasters have struck. We sincerely offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost their families, friends and homes. We offer our full support to individuals and organisations in the frontline helping the survivors.

On 26 September, Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit the Philippines, killing 240 people and displacing more than 600,000 residents (Gov’t of the Philippines, 28 Sept).

The typhoon also affected the neighbouring countries of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. On 29 September, a shallow 8.0 moment magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami in the Pacific, badly affecting Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga. At least 123 people died (WHO, 2 Oct). Soon after, an earthquake struck Sumatra, Indonesia killing 592 people (Red Cross Indonesia, 1 Oct). The damage to properties in these three disasters combined amounts to millions of dollars while the death toll continues to rise. There is no available data, however, on the impact of these disasters to women and children. We need this data to advocate for better planning and emergency response.

We maintain that the impact of such disasters could be reduced if governments and citizens are prepared and well informed in reducing disaster risks. What happened in these countries is deeply regrettable and reflects the need for urgent and stronger advocacy at the national and international levels.

Governments must scale up efforts in working with local people at the grassroots level to develop disaster risk reduction plans that are effective, responsive, and gender-sensitive.

REQUEST TO MEMBERS: We ask members who are directly involved in response and recovery in these countries to share information about any available data and how available GDN members can support or volunteer with legitimate organisations.

Sincerely,

The Gender and Disaster Network Steering Committee:

Rosemary Enie, SWEET Africa Foundation, Monrovia, Liberia Christine Ouellette, Canada Chaman Pincha, India Maureen Fordham, Northumbria University, UK Kristina Peterson, University of New Orleans CHART New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Ilan Kelman, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), Risk Reduction Education for Disasters (Risk RED) Linda Driskill, Rice University, USA Lourdes Meyreles, Dominican Republic Ros Houghton, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand Kristinne Sanz, GDN

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