Dealing with disasters
Resilience to vulnerability
Asia is prone to multiple disasters, such as droughts, floods, cyclones and earthquakes that affect hundreds of millions of people annually. Conflict-related humanitarian crises is also highly prevalent in parts of Asia. The frequency and intensity of weather related disasters is likely to increase with climate change, which will decrease agricultural yield and productivity.
Oxfam strives to address chronic and acute vulnerabilities to disasters and increase the resilience of poor women and men to natural disasters and climate change.
We work with partner organisations to empower poor communities in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam to be more resilient to disasters and work with district and national level government to make sure that they have disaster risk reduction plan and policy in place.
At local level, we pilot climate change adaptation initiatives with jasmine rice farmers in Thailand and Philippines, while calling for climate change adaptation fund for women farmers and food producers at global level.
At regional level, we work alongside and advocate with influential institutions such as ASEAN (Association of South East AsianNations) and SARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) to ensure that climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction become national and regional priorities.
In most emergencies women are significantly more affected than men, and in far greater numbers. In our work we recognise not only that men and women have different roles in most societies, but that women are often marginalised.
In our Pakistan flood response, we make sure that information reach women as well as men, despite cultural and literacy barrier. Our hygiene kit distribution and water and sanitation activities consider privacy and cultural appropriateness, particularly for women.
We consider a balance of men and women field staff and interviewers. In some areas this has meant a woman has been appointed to a particular job for the first time. We involve women beneficiaries in activities such as public health volunteers, which has also had psychological benefits on women.