Women play key role in disaster management

Women play a major role in disaster management, according to a recent study of a non-governmental organization.

It stated that natural disasters are frequently hitting Bangladesh as a consequence of climate change, especially in coastal areas with intensity increasing day by day. 

Women and children mainly fall victim to these catastrophes.

The study suggested that women have to be put in charge of management before the onset of a disaster. They have many responsibilities including storing household items and food, handling livestock, caring for elderly members of the family as well as going to shelters with children.

Climate change expert and disaster manager advisor for a private organization, Sohel Rahman said, “in the aftermath of the disaster, women have to take up most of the work, including getting drinking water and cooking.”

If the capacity of women in these tasks is further enhanced, the extent of economic and women's self harm will be reduced, he added.

Water resources and climate change expert Emeritus Professor Ainun Nishat said, no area of Bangladesh will be submerged for climate change. However, with the increase in salinity, there will be a crisis in the production of drinking water and food. As women have to do these tasks, it poses risk.

'Listen to your own and your mother's experiences of multiple cyclones and tornadoes, said Director General of the Department of the Environment, AKM Rafiq Ahmed. Besides, women are being trained to come to the shelters with training, he added.

Mahbuba Nasreen, director of the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies of Dhaka University, said from the beginning women face critical time with disasters.

She said, recognition of women's ability to cope with disasters must come from the world, society and state. Also, the participation of women at the policy-making level with climate change must be ensured effectively.

Climate Change Deputy Programme Manager at an NGO Ahsanul Waheed said that the emphasis should be given on the rights of women in areas especially for their economic development.

Sharmin Zaman, associate professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University, said 65 percent of the women involved in the labor force are rural women. Their participation in agriculture is also increasing. Considering this information, decisions need to be made for climate change and development.

Environmental risk and women's risk run parallel, increasing anxiety among adolescents due to environmental differences. Their mental development is hampered and educational activities disrupted, she added.