Understanding how crises affect women and men, girls and boys of different ages and disparities is critical to effective humanitarian preparedness and response. Women, girls, boys and men have distinct needs, priorities, responsibilities, limitations and protection needs. They are exposed to differential risks and vulnerabilities but also play unique and important roles in preparedness and in responding to emergencies, conflicts and building peace within their respective communities. Gender equality in humanitarian action is about better targeting and programming and therefore about effectiveness of humanitarian action reaching all segments of the affected population.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Department of Health and Human Services DHHS), officially began a refugee program in 1998 and has since increased the program's focus on refugee reproductive health. DRH defines refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) as all populations affected by conflict, including those in the emergency phase, those in post-emergency camps, those returning to their countries of origin, and those who have integrated into the local host community.