Dispatch

13 January 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: UNFPA Concerned Over Critical Situation for Women

PANAMA CITY, Panama — UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, extends solidarity and compassion to the people of Haiti who are suffering from the recent devastating earthquake.

The earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday has caused tremendous hardship, injury and loss of life among the general population. It is also putting thousands of pregnant women at risk from complications and death related to pregnancy and childbirth. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, already has by far the highest rate of maternal mortality in the region – 670 deaths per 100,000 live births. This figure is likely to skyrocket as a direct result of the powerful earthquake, which measured 7.0 on Richter’s scale.

Pregnant women in and around the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, are now without access to even the most basic health services. Emergency obstetric care is among the most urgent needs.

UNFPA is now working intensely with United Nations partner agencies to protect reproductive health care and conduct rapid health assessments to allow for appropriate, effective and efficient relief operations. The Fund is providing emergency reproductive health kits containing life-saving supplies for the population affected by the earthquake.

The effect of natural disasters on women and girls is often exacerbated as a direct result of gender discrimination, poverty and their roles as caretakers of children and the ageing.

 

In Port-au-Prince
Trygve Olfarnes, Tel: +507  6400 6653 (mobile and sms), Satellite: + 881 631 692 731, olfarnes@unfpa.org.

In New York:
Jessica Malter, Tel: + 1 212 297-5190, malter@unpfa.org
Omar Gharzeddine, Tel: + 1212 297-5028
Abubakar Dungus, Tel: + 1 212 297-5031, dungus@unfpa.org