By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence is urging that an all-encompassing approach be employed to effectively meet the needs of Guyana’s vulnerable groups; particularly women, girls and the elderly in times of natural or human disasters.
Lawrence made the comment while addressing stakeholders at the United Nations World Population Fund (UNFPA) forum in observance of World Population Day at Cara Lodge on Monday, July 20.
World Population Day 2015 is commemorated under the theme “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies” and the discussions and remarks remained true to the theme with emphasis being placed on the importance of women and adolescent girls.
According to the Social Protection Minister, placing the spotlight on the subject would also refocus the attention on gender issues currently affecting Guyana.
She pointed out that in most cases when there are disasters it is the women folk who face the brunt of it, being saddled with the task and responsibility of caring for the family.
Lawrence indicated that often times this is done while placing the health of the woman in jeopardy.
Pointing to the recent floods in Georgetown and parts of the coast, she said “it was our women folk who bore the brunt in the aftermath…clearly this underscores the need for readiness packages.”
According to the Minister, more resources have to be set aside and more groups activated to respond to natural disasters in Guyana whenever such a situation arises.
“We need to highlight the special needs of women, girls and children during emergency situations…the approach must be eclectic,” said Lawrence.
Meanwhile, First Lady Sandra Granger, who was also a part of the discussion, emphasized the need for attention to also be given to the elderly – which can be categorized as a vulnerable group.
UNFPA Assistant Representative Patrice La Fleur in her remarks stated that the essential needs of women during disaster times are often overlooked noting that this extends particularly to pregnant women and girls.
“The international Community and indeed all of us have to redouble our efforts to protect women and adolescent girls,” said La Fleur.