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There is a tendency for gender considerations to be marginal, or absent, in the response to disasters and emergencies. The need for swift action in a crisis, and the cost and complexity of relief operations, mean that emergency programmes are often implemented in a top-down manner, with little attempt to involve the affected community. Women, in particular, are seldom consulted about their needs and problems. The papers in this book consider some of the dilemmas of emergency relief operations, and look at the experience of women in situations of crisis, their particular vulnerabilities, and their capacities and strengths. The need to take a developmental approach to emergencies is stressed, and to support women in their role as family managers, and also as producers and providers. Seeing people as a resource, rather than as passive victims, and looking at their skills and strengths, should be an integral part of the approach by relief organisations in order to help the community to recover from the disaster and build for the future.

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