This document was prepared by Sarah Bradshaw, consultant for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), under the supervision of the Women and Development Unit, in close collaboration with the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division and the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters in Mexico City, in the framework of the Project Improve damage assessment methodology to promote natural disaster mitigation and risk reduction awareness and preparedness in Latin America and the Caribbean" (ITA/99/130). The paper analyses the socio-economic effects of hurricane Mitch using a gender approach and proposes new analysis indicators for crisis situations that may better reflect Women's disadvantageous position relative to men. The first section of the document discusses key concepts used in gender and disaster analysis, in the context of the region and hurricane Mitch. The following section examines the direct and indirect impacts, and looks at how they have affected women, as well as the responses to Mitch at three levels: first, that of individuals and their strategies for coping with the crisis; second, the actions of governments and the coordinated bodies of civil society; and third, reconstruction initiatives carried out by national and international organizations. The final section attempts to draw together the salient points and challenges suggested by the analysis. It also offers some recommendations for integrating this approach into future emergency and reconstruction scenarios and for reducing Women's current vulnerability."