UNFPA Assists Women Displaced by Indonesian Volcano
16 Nov 2010
16 Nov 2010
JAKARTA—Tens of thousands of pregnant women are among the 340,000 people uprooted by two recent eruptions of Mount Merapi in Central Java, Indonesia. To protect their health, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has provided medical supplies to four affected districts and is giving technical assistance in delivering reproductive health services.
After the first eruption on 26 October, UNFPA was part of a joint United Nations team that helped officials in the four districts assess reproductive health needs. The Fund then shipped 1,000 hygiene kits for specific target groups among the displaced, and sent midwifery supplies to local health centres offering basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care.
The support continued after the second, larger eruption on 5 November. Additional targeted hygiene kits and 3,000 sanitary kits have been sent, and medical equipment has been ordered for health facilities.
UNFPA is also helping the health offices in the four districts (Boyolali, Klaten, Magelang and Sleman) to strengthen maternal surveillance to ensure skilled care during births and prompt management of pregnancy and childbirth complications.
In addition, UNFPA is assisting in the prevention of HIV transmission, and is training Women Empowerment Offices and other local government units to address gender-related concerns as part of the disaster response.
“Vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence tend to increase during emergencies, so this is an area that UNFPA is also addressing,” said Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative in Indonesia.
To help prevent sexual violence and manage its consequences, the Fund is working with the Indonesian National Police to increase the roles of female officers in addressing violence, and will collaborate with local NGOs to raise awareness on sexual violence in camps for the displaced.
UNFPA Indonesia responds regularly to humanitarian emergencies. In addition to assisting those displaced by the Mount Merapi eruption, it has supported reproductive health services for people affected by last month’s earthquake and tsunami in Mentawai.
Nugroho Nurdikiawan Sunjoyo
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