India

Gender inclusion in post-disaster housing in India: Helping women and girls build resilience

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AT A GLANCE

Country India
Risks Disproportionate impact of natural disasters on women
Area of Engagement Promoting resilient infrastructure

The government of India and the government of the Indian state of Uttarakhand have integrated gender into their disaster response and recovery efforts through the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project.

WOMEN DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY NATURAL DISASTERS

Endowed with vast natural resources, the state of Uttarakhand is one of the most frequented tourist and Hindu pilgrimage destinations in India. In large part due to its fragile terrain, however, the state is also one of the most disaster-prone in the country. Located close to the seismically active Himalayan mountain ranges, Uttarakhand faces the specter of landslides and floods during monsoon season, a challenge which has been exacerbated by climate change. In June 2013, the state experienced unprecedented monsoon rains that triggered India’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami. The 2013 flash floods and landslides affected more than 4,200 villages, damaged 2,500 houses, and claimed the lives of 4,000 people.

Due to the unequal distribution of roles, resources, and power, evidence shows that women and girls disproportionately suffer the impacts of disasters, including in Uttarakhand. As male members of the household in the state usually migrate to towns to earn a living for their families, a large percentage of women single handedly manage family assets including homes, crops and livestock. Yet even though women in villages effectively become heads of the household, they have little legal rights over the land.