Sunday 25 February 2018

Warning as thousands of young girls left ‘painfully vulnerable’ in typhoon-struck Philippines

Catherine Wylie, Press Association

THOUSANDS of girls and women have been left "painfully vulnerable" in the typhoon-struck Philippines, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said.

She announced £21.6 million in new funding to help protect females in emergencies - but none of that sum is allocated to the Philippines.

Ms Greening was speaking at an event attended by aid organisations to discuss the international response to women in disaster situations.

The funding will support women in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

In a speech at Lancaster House in central London, Ms Greening said past emergencies in the Philippines have led to a sharp rise in violence against girls and women, and in trafficking in particular.

"Now thousands more girls and women have been left painfully vulnerable in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

"Some have lost everything - their homes, their friends, even their families.

"Without our help, they will be subject to further abuse," she said.

Ms Greening said after her speech that while none of the £21.6m funding will go to women in the Philippines, the Government has "insisted" that agencies there assess the risks against women.

"With all of our contributions to date to the Philippines, we've insisted that all the agencies we're working with look at and assess the risks of violence against women on the ground in the Philippines.

"We'll be looking today with all the donors after this event about how we can coordinate our work better in the Philippines to reduce the risk of violence against women," she said.

Ms Greening said she knew from recent crises in the Philippines that the numbers of women suffering violence "really significantly increased" and said it is a "real risk".

She said the international community learns more with every response, and said she wants to make sure the needs of girls and women are prioritised.

"They may seem simple but things like lockable toilets, safe access to firewood, or adequate lighting can make a huge difference.

"The commitments made today mean that in future when crisis hits, the safety of girls and women will be a major priority for all humanitarian agencies alongside delivering other essentials like food, water and shelter," she said.

Press Association

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