Gender and Post-Disaster Reconstruction: The Case of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua

Hurricane Mitch caused tremendous losses to human life, property, livelihoods, and physical infrastructure throughout Central America. Its effects were greatest in two of the poorest countries in the region, Honduras and Nicaragua. Although the hurricane itself was a naturally-occurring phenomenon, the intense impacts of the storm were exacerbated by human actions, including incomplete development practices. A greater understanding of the social variables surrounding disaster vulnerability is a necessary precursor to operations that address the underlying causes of disaster. The purpose of this report is to use a gender lens to examine the importance of social variables before, during, and after Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua. Such an examination will enable the World Bank and government agencies to contribute to the growing understanding of the links between disasters and development by identifying important considerations for social inclusiveness in the context of natural disaster mitigation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and social transformation.