Thousands of pregnant women require care in cyclone-slammed Vanuatu

17 March 2015
Author: UNFPA
Thousands have been affected by the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam. A woman and child on the road to Mele, near Port Vila, the capital. © UNICEF/UNI181138/Crumb

SUVA, Fiji/UNITED NATIONS, New York – Four days after Cyclone Pam cut a path of destruction across Vanuatu, the full scale of the devastation has yet to be determined. The Category Five storm damaged an estimated 90 per cent of structures on the main island of Efate, and Shefa Province has declared a state of emergency. Some 3,300 people are sheltering in 37 evacuation centres, and 11 people have been confirmed dead. UNFPA estimates some 6,700 women in the country are pregnant and in need of maternal care services.

There are about 56,000 women and girls of childbearing age in Vanuatu, according to the country’s 2013 Demographic Health Survey. These women and girls will require reproductive health services, hygiene supplies and other support.

Extensive damage

A woman in Malapoa, on the outskirts of Port Vila, is pregnant and past her due date.  © UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0440/UNICEF Pacific

Of the women estimated to be pregnant, 100 are projected to experience dangerous complications in the coming month, and 900 will face complications in the next nine months.

But medical facilities have sustained heavy damage, United Nations officials report.

“The Vila Central Hospital requires urgent repairs,” said UNFPA Programme Analyst Gideon Mael from Port-Vila, the capital.

The hospital continues to function “despite extensive damage,” but medical supplies and additional wards are needed. 

Emergency response

UNFPA has provided radios and dignity kits, which contain hygiene supplies and other essential materials for women and girls of reproductive age. The Fund is also providing emergency reproductive health supplies, including kits for safe delivery and management of miscarriage. 

Working closely with the Ministry of Health and UN humanitarian coordinators, UNFPA is performing a needs assessment to determine the full extent of the response required.

Protection services may also be required, as crisis conditions often exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls to abuse and exploitation.

Population : 0.3 mil
Fertility rate
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 48%
Girls 50%

Related content

Regional Situation With over 10.5 million confirmed cases, India continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the region and the second highest globally. Whereas transmission has reduced over the last few months, India still sees a significant number of daily new...

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world; further deteriorating in 2020, driven by an escalating conflict, collapsing economy, a depreciating currency; exacerbated by torrential rains and flooding, COVID-19 and a fuel crisis. An estimated 24.1 million...


Since 15 November, the State Emergency Commission (SEC) has identified a total of eight clusters of COVID-19 transmission: two in Ulaanbaatar City and one in Selenge, Darkhan-Uul, Gobisumber, Orkhon, Dornogobi and Arkhangai provinces respectively. The clusters are linked...


We use cookies and other identifiers to help improve your online experience. By using our website you agree to this. To learn more, including how to change your settings, see our cookies policy.