Statement by UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the devastating floods in Pakistan
02 September 2022
02 September 2022
Our hearts go out to the people of Pakistan during this devastating time, as heavy monsoon rains have flooded a third of the country, affecting more than 33 million people, of whom an estimated 650,000 are pregnant women. We are deeply saddened by the destruction, and are working with the Government, our United Nations and NGO partners to support the humanitarian response and secure a speedy recovery from this disaster.
Women and girls bear the brunt of the devastating impacts of climate change and the rising prevalence of natural disasters. When crisis hits, women do not stop getting pregnant and giving birth, and the risk of violence escalates rapidly. Sexual and reproductive health services are often severely impacted, forcing women to give birth without much-needed medical support. Access to family planning and menstrual hygiene products can also be disrupted.
Of the 33 million people affected, 6.4 million need immediate humanitarian assistance, including more than 1.6 million women of reproductive age. An estimated 128,000 of these women are pregnant, with 42,000 births expected in the next three months. UNFPA is scaling up its emergency response to provide life-saving reproductive healthcare, medical equipment and medicines, gender-based violence services, and dignity kits for women and girls.
With more than 500 health facilities damaged in Sindh province, and 240 health facilities damaged in affected districts in Balochistan, UNFPA is urgently providing hospital tents, reproductive health kits and life-saving supplies to affected areas so that vital health services can continue.
Given the deeply concerning reports of incidents of gender-based violence, we are working with partners to provide prevention and response services including medical and psychosocial support.
UNFPA is committed to supporting the people of Pakistan as they respond to this catastrophe, which has destroyed lives, houses, livelihoods, crops and infrastructure. Our humanitarian efforts will respond to the needs of women, girls and vulnerable populations in their time of greatest need.