Bodies at Risk: "Managing" Sexuality and Reproduction in the Aftermath of Disaster in the Philippines

Kaira Zoe K. Alburo-Cañete*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the intersection of sexual and reproductive health, development and human rights in the context of managing post-disaster relief and rehabilitation operations. As a case study, it investigates the disaster response and rehabilitation efforts carried out in southern Philippines after the devastation wrought by the tropical storm Washi (locally known as Sendong) in December 2011, which resulted in thousands of casualties, with thousands more displaced and forced to live in makeshift evacuation centers. Using a varied range of methods for data collection, including personal interviews, group workshops, body mapping, and a socio-demographic and reproductive health survey in evacuation camps, the study reveals how post-disaster interventions and strategies remain grounded in medicotechnical and managerial narratives, thereby marginalizing the sexual and gendered dimensions of calamities. I argue that this marginalization in disaster risk-management practices renders gender and sexuality impersonal, disembodied and apolitical. In doing so, disaster risk management runs the risk of reproducing inequalities, vulnerabilities, and social exclusion in the aftermath of calamities. This article aims at broadening our understanding of disaster risk reduction and management by re-centering sexuality and reproduction in the discourse of humanitarian intervention as a matter of human rights, and not only as a medical(ized) issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Technology and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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