Pakistan

After the deluge: gender and early recovery housing in Sindh, Pakistan

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Shaheen Ashraf Shah

Introduction

Experience shows that understanding gender dynamics in disaster-struck communities is a central aspect of effective relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. In a disaster, women, girls and vulnerable groups potentially experience a higher risk of being excluded from mainstream developmental processes and practices. It is argued that following „gender approaches can assist in the understanding and profiling of vulnerable groups, in channelling resources to those most in need, and in the mobilization of the capacities of a significant proportion of the population that is often under-estimated‟ (Graham, 2001).

During 2010 and 2011, Pakistan experienced a series of catastrophic floods throughout the region, compounding existing difficulties and causing conditions to go from bad to worse. Sindh was the worst affected province, where people that were already recovering from the 2010 mega-floods, chronic poverty and vulnerability, were further marginalised as a result of the 2011 floods. Women, the elderly, minority groups, differently abled people and children were among those hit hardest.