Mountain Research and Development
International Mountain Society
The 2005 Kashmir Earthquake is illustrative of the intensity and scope associated with catastrophic earthquake disasters in mountainous regions. The experience of the immediate aftermath, relief and recovery, and community reconstruction underscores how this event impacted mountain women, particularly in their roles in rescue and relief efforts and in rebuilding households and communities. A situational analysis was undertaken in order to document and make recommendations for the significant challenges and concerns facing women earthquake survivors in 3 of the valleys most proximate to the epicenter. Earthquake planning and mitigation strategies in northern Pakistan and elsewhere need to focus on reducing women’s vulnerability and increasing their resilience, while fostering feasible interventions to reduce disaster risk across the population. We propose that the main elements should include pre-disaster vulnerability assessments; the support of women’s access to resources and science-based earthquake education; active roles for women in relief, rehabilitation, and rebuilding efforts; and gender training among all disaster relief and emergency services.