Global Fund for Women expresses solidarity with the brave people in Iraq and Iran who were affected by the world’s deadliest earthquake of 2017 that struck near the border late Sunday, killing at least 500 people and injuring thousands of others. Iran’s Kermanshah province, in western Iran near the epicenter, is believed to have carried the brunt of damage and loss of life. Aftershocks hit throughout the region and were felt in Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Turkey, according to news agencies in those countries.
While mainstream media rarely covers the gendered aspects of disaster, we want our partners and women throughout the region to know that we stand with them as they assess the damage and begin relief and recovery. We know from decades of experience that women and girls are disproportionately impacted by disasters, facing heightened risk of violence and lack of access to health needs among other things. Traditional aid and relief often does not reach grassroots women’s groups, and Global Fund for Women’s experience proves that investing in these women’s groups to lead immediate relief and sustainable recovery efforts makes a significant difference for communities in the aftermath of disasters, both short- and long-term.
We know that the road to recovery will be long and our thoughts go out to those most impacted. We extend appreciation to the incredible resilience and strength of Iranians and Iraqis —from rescue workers digging through rubble to people lining up to donate blood in Tehran and elsewhere. We hope that the efforts of everyone on the ground will be paralleled by global support and solidarity.