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Are Haitian Women and Children Getting Less Earthquake Aid?
Date:1/23/2010

Advocates cite disparities, call on relief groups to address women’s special needs

Washington, DC (Vocus) January 23, 2010 -- Experience from past disasters suggests that women and children in Haiti may not be getting a fair share of the massive relief aid that is pouring into the country following last week’s earthquake, say public health experts at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

“I am deeply disturbed by pictures in the media of Haitians lined up and receiving relief aid, and they are all men,” said Dr. Marijke Velzeboer-Salcedo, PAHO/WHO’s top expert on gender issues. “We’re seeing images in newspapers and on TV with only men, or a majority of men, standing or pressing themselves forward in food or water lines. We can’t help but wonder, where are the women? Have they all entrusted their survival tasks to their men? Do we know that resources are getting shared equally by these men and other members of their families?”

Women and children are especially vulnerable following a disaster, Velzeboer-Salcedo and other experts say. This is especially true in Haiti, where rates of violence against women and girls were already high before the earthquake.

In a study carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank in Haiti in 2006, one-third of women and girls said they had suffered physical or sexual violence, and more than 50 percent of those who had experienced violence were under the age of 18.

“We hope and pray that security can prevent and control violence against women,”
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Source: PRWeb
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