According to the World Disaster Report 2009, 40.5% of global disasters between 1999 and 2008 occurred in Asia, and 84.5% of those affected during the same period lived in the region. While comparative statistics for the Pacific is low given these island nation’s smaller sizes, their fragile economies and other factors make them vulnerable to the impact of disasters. Most are also vulnerable to rising impacts of climate change.
Given the scale of disasters in the Asia-Pacific region, it is extremely crucial that governments and other actors respect, promote and fulfil the SRHR of women, adolescents and people of diverse gender and sexual identities in disaster risk reduction, response and recovery. National legal framework and plans on disaster risk reduction, response and recovery are often couched in the language of needs of ‘vulnerable’ women and people affected by disasters, and not as holders of ‘rights’ and agents of change who have resilience even in disaster situations.
Research by our partners shows that during disasters, critical family planning services are not available for women in need and pregnant women are at risk of death and injury. And for women displaced by disasters, shelters are not gender-sensitive, reproductive health services are not available, and they are exposed to an increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence.