Press Release

UNFPA Helps Prevent Maternal and Newborn Deaths in Flood-Affected Areas in the Philippines

23 Dec 2011

UNITED NATIONS, New York—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is working with international and local partners to provide essential reproductive-health supplies to respond to the needs of more than 12,000 pregnant and lactating women in various evacuation centres in areas affected by Tropical Storm Washi in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan cities in the Philippines.

As part of the United Nations humanitarian appeal, UNFPA is seeking approximately $1.4 million to help the affected populations. According to estimates by the Philippines Government, more than 92,000 families, or 640,000 people, are affected by the disaster.

UNFPA has also mobilized youth volunteers to organize young people in evacuation centres to help raise awareness about available medical services and to monitor incidents of gender-based violence. These youth are also collecting vital data about pregnant, post-partum and lactating women, as well as other vital statistics such as the number of young people in these centres. Through collaboration with the government, UNFPA is working with local organizations to conduct psychosocial counselling and set up emergency referral systems for survivors of gender-based violence.

At least 22 village health centres have been damaged or totally washed away by the floods. Pregnant women who are in labour are referred to regional hospitals that are already swamped with regular patients.

UNFPA will distribute clean delivery kits to an estimated 8,500 pregnant women to ensure safe deliveries. Each kit includes soap, a clean razor blade and string to cut and tie the umbilical cord, a plastic sheet and a blanket to protect the baby from hypothermia.

Reproductive health care supplies and medicine are also being distributed to regional hospitals. UNFPA is supporting the deployment of additional medical teams, composed of doctors, midwives and other health workers.

Nearly 35,000 dignity kits, also known as hygiene kits, will also be distributed to affected women and girls, including 4,200 mothers who are breastfeeding, in and around the evacuation centres. These kits include basic sanitary supplies, such as soap, changing garment, towels, sanitary pads and toilet paper.


For more information, please contact:

In Manila: Arlene Alan: Tel: + 63 2 901 0306; Mobile: +63 917 515 3559;
In New York: Omar Gharzeddine; Tel: + 1 212 297 5028;

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