(KPL) The United Nations in the Lao PDR joined the world in recognizing the importance of humanitarian work and highlighting the active impact of women humanitarians.
Humanitarian activities are crucial for timely crisis response when cooperation is key to saving lives and restoring livelihoods from the losses they suffered.
The Humanitarian Country Team is established in the Lao PDR to perform these activities. After the ravaging floods in 2018 this team managed to mobilize US$8 million, including US$3.5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund, to implement the Disaster Response Plan complementing the government’s actions to remedy the damage.
As we are going through the rainy season now, we hope that the devastating floods in 2018 which affected 616,000 people and caused losses of US$225 million will not repeat this year. Together with national and local authorities, the UN agencies in the Lao PDR, including FAO, IOM, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, worked last year to deliver a comprehensive response to the floods: support in food security and agriculture assessment, provision of life-saving items and tools to ‘Build Back Safer’, improving access to water and sanitation, strengthening the capacity of national emergency response, emergency food and cash distributions and logistical support, said UN Resident Coordinator Sara Sekkenes.
Solid prior preparedness and coordination is vital to ensuring an effective humanitarian response to an emergency. As the climate hazards pose an increasing threat all over the world, storms and flooding may become more frequent and destructive in the Lao PDR.
The UN Humanitarian Country Team in the Lao PDR is currently working on updating the contingency plan for disaster response which acknowledges the leading role of the government in all its aspects and the role of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in supporting the national response capacity. One of the recent initiatives in this sector is strengthening the preparedness of the government institutions and humanitarian actors by the WFP together with the Global Logistics Centre.
This year’s World Humanitarian Day is set especially to celebrate the crucial contribution that women humanitarians make to the emergency response with their unique perspectives and abilities to assess the needs from a female perspective.
Women comprise up to 40% of humanitarian workers worldwide, and some of them work in the Lao PDR � including in the challenging UXO sector which is supported by UNDP.
As a deminer, when I clear and destroy UXOs from people’s land, I feel happy knowing hundreds of lives are saved and I am very proud of being a part of UXO Lao team. I really hope that soon my country will be free from UXO, – says Phonenida Mixaivanh, a Lao woman deminer.
Phonenida has spent more than 10 years with UXO Lao, starting as a cleaner and then trainee and being today a section commander. Before joining her team, she never thought that women were involved in UXO work, but soon after she was able to work as effectively as her male colleagues and feel immense satisfaction from helping to achieve the Lao PDR’s own national Sustainable Development Goal 18 (SDG 18), to remove the obstacles that UXOs pose to national development by 2030.
World Humanitarian Day reminds that humanitarian response comes in the situations of acute crisis, which can unfold rapidly and leave a legacy that lasts for decades.
The UN in Lao PDR recognizes the active and professional role of women humanitarians and welcomes the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality, and one of the targets of Outcome 2 of the 8th Five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020), Gender equality achieved.
Source: Lao News Agency