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Does gender responsive disaster risk reduction make a difference when a category 5 cyclone strikes?

September 2021

Preparation, response and recovery from Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu

In March 2015, Vanuatu was devastated by a Category 5 Tropical Cyclone (TC). CARE has been implementing gender-responsive community-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (DRR & CCA) programs in the Tafea Province since 2011 and supported the local government to provide rapid emergency relief after TC Pam. A year after the cyclone, an independent study was commissioned to assess evidence of the impact of CARE’s mid-to-long term DRR interventions in the event of a major natural disaster. This paper is a summary of the study’s findings.

The conclusions of this report are the following:

  • Gender and women’s empowerment are important goals for DRR.
  • Better preparation dramatically changed community experiences of TC Pam.
  • Early warning alone is not enough: understanding of the information and a trusted source is needed.
  • The whole community took responsibility for people with disability, children and the elderly.
  • CARE’s gender responsive DRR programming contributed to reducing the impact and damage from TC Pam in the communities that had participated in DRR programming compared to the communities that had not.
  • The timing of preparation critical. is
  • Recovery capacity exists at the community level.