Disasters and emergencies are a regular feature of life in developing countries. In 1997, there were 28 major and 100 lesser armed conflicts affecting some 70, almost exclusively, low-income countries. In the case of natural disasters, the vulnerability of the poor is increased by factors such as population growth, rapid urbanisation and environmental degradation. Women and children tend to form nearly 80% of any settled refugee population, and women and girls are more likely to become malnourished and to assume sole responsibility for maintaining their household. Such gender dimensions of disasters are explored in this paper, which is designed to provide DFID desk officers and advisers with practical advice on issues that need to be explored in identifying, designing and appraising disaster-related projects. Background on why gender differences are important in emergencies is provided, as are some initial pointers on how gender issues can be integrated into emergency responses, including links to appropriate tools and case studies. It also presents more detailed overviews on: The Gender Dimension of Conflict, and Population Displacement, gives practical guidance on key sector-specific gender issues in emergencies, and provides lists of reading materials and links to other relevant web sites.

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