Disaster Experiences of Women with Disabilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in Cambodia

  • Citation: Gartrell, Alexandra, Emma Calgaro, George Goddard, and Ngin Saorath. “Disaster Experiences of Women with Disabilities: Barriers and Opportunities for Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in Cambodia.” Global Environmental Change 64 (September 2020).
    • Topics:
    • Movements for Inclusion
    • Keywords:
    • South-East Asia
    • Cambodia
    • women with disabilities
    • vulnerability
    • resilience
    • disability
    • disasters
    • inclusion

Despite increased international commitment to disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DiDRR) people with disabilities remain largely unseen, unheard and unaccounted for in DRR processes and planning. This is most marked amongst women with disabilities who experience specific gender, disability and poverty-based disadvantages, which disasters exacerbate. Our research found that women with disabilities are disproportionally impacted by disasters and are the least able to access institutional support across the preparedness, response and recovery phases of disaster events. Furthermore, the increased threat of violence following disasters heightens their risk of additional harm. In the absence of formal supports women with disabilities have few choices but to rely upon the social capital of their households and neighbours for assistance. They ‘recover’ in whatever ways they can – through short-term loans, reduced food consumption and/or migration – each carry significant costs to their longer-term resilience. This paper unpacks the root causes of women with disabilities’ marginalisation in disaster contexts, many of which are extensions of exclusionary processes that play out in their daily lives. We also present steps to position women at the centre of DRR discourse, which will benefit all.

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