The tsunami that struck the coast of Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004, has had major impacts on the social, traditional and customary role of women in the country. The majority of deaths following the disaster were women, however, those that survived have emerged stronger than men in the post-tsunami situation. This article discusses the impact the tsunami had on women’s traditional roles, livelihoods, safety and security, and health and sanitation. Challenges effecting women, including rebuilding their lives, being counselors to their families, and finding employment, are illustrated. A long-term action plan is needed to empower women and help them overcome their grief. A partial list of what is needed to accomplish this objective and to address gender needs is provided.
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