Mothers Not Only Ones to Blame in Child Flood Deaths

By Sreng Sopheap

I was surprised and disturbed to read your article “Government Blames Child Flood Deaths on ‘Careless’ Mothers,” (October 22).

I believe that child deaths as a result of flooding should not be the responsibility of mothers alone. It is very much gender stereotyping to say that only mothers and wom­en are associated with the reproductive role, and that in everything negative related to this role the mother who should be blamed, including when a child is lost.

Many women and men share this belief.

In my opinion, there might be some cases of carelessness, but it is not the mother’s fault only. Perhaps it is the lack of coordination among local authorities in flood preparedness, and it could also possibly be the fault of some careless men who believe that only women should care for children.

Whether we like it or not, disaster is likely to happen. How­ever, it is the government and everyone’s duty to protect its children, both girls and boys. This means community awareness raising about disasters, hazards, vulnerabilities, capacity, child protection and gender during emergencies.

The headline on the story was very painful and it was uncomfortable to read.

We know that disasters such as flooding do not discriminate, but it is undeniable that boys, girls, wom­en and people with disabilities are the most affected population.

Sreng Sopheap, community development worker in Ratanakkiri province

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