When Tropical Cyclone Harold hit on the 2nd April, the Solomon Islands was among the first countries forced to grapple with the complex intersection of COVID-19 and disaster. While the country has managed to contain the spread of COVID-19 and prevent community transmission to date, the pandemic is still having a major impact on everyday life for men, women, boys and girls. Lock-down measures, the abrupt cessation of tourism, severe disruptions to international trade and other flow-on effects of the global pandemic (combined with the effects of TC Harold and pre-existing vulnerabilities) are resulting in widespread income and job losses, heightened stress and tension, increased family violence, displacement, and disrupted access to education, health, and water and sanitation. If community transmission of COVID-19 occurs, there will be a public health crisis with complex contextual challenges. These include a population dispersed across isolated islands and limited resources, including limited access to quality health services.
The current COVID-19 impacts are disproportionately affecting women, girls and people with disabilities in the Solomon Islands, and this will be exacerbated in the case of a wider COVID-19 outbreak. All humanitarian programming must consider gender roles and responsibilities and the existing patterns of community participation and leadership, in order to ‘do no harm’ and help facilitate a gender and disability inclusive approach to COVID-19 prevention and recovery.
This gender, disability and inclusion analysis has the following objectives:
- To analyse and understand the different impacts that COVID-19 and TC Harold is having on women, men, girls, boys, people living with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in the Solomon Islands;
- To inform humanitarian programming in the Solomon Islands based on the different needs of women, men, boys, girls and people living with disabilities with a particular focus on gender-based violence (GBV) and livelihoods.