As the international relief effort in the Philippines gets under way, UK development secretary Justine Greening says not enough is being done to protect women and girls from the threat of rape, violence, forced marriage and trafficking.
Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan has raised the alarm concerning reports of escalating violence and rape in areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda.
“A humanitarian crisis of this proportion can and will spawn violence,” she said.
“It is high time that the Aquino government get its act together rather than waste time and effort defending itself from international criticism for its glaringly disorganized and incompetent response to the disaster brought about by super typhoon Yolanda.”
The deployment of security forces to control looting had no impact on allaying fears of further violence, including rape primarily because survivors need organized relief and rehabilitation efforts, she added.
Ilagan said six days after the typhoon, survivors continue to walk, sleep and scour for food among the dead in ruined structures.
“Why is it that there’s no centralized shelter or even a tent city in these areas?” she asked.
It is unthinkable to most of us that as well as having to contend with the basic human need of finding food and water, shelter for you and your family and medicine to prevent disease spreading or treat those with wounds, hundreds of thousands of women and girls will face the very real risk of violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, rape, forced marriage and trafficking.