Press Release

UNFPA launches humanitarian aid appeal to urgently reach 48 million women and youth

6 February 2020

UNITED NATIONS, New York – UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, today appealed to the international community for $683 million to urgently provide life-saving reproductive health and protection services to 48 million women, girls and young people, including 4 million pregnant women, in 57 countries affected by conflict or natural disasters in 2020. 

The appeal, also known as UNFPA’s Humanitarian Action Overview, describes how women and girls face unique challenges during humanitarian disasters, from being more likely to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth to an increased risk of gender-based violence. Globally, more than half of all maternal deaths take place in countries affected by humanitarian crisis and fragility. The humanitarian assistance received following this appeal will provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, combat gender-based violence and extend mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies. 

“Women and girls pay a high price in conflicts that they had no role in creating. It is time to prioritize their rights, safety and dignity in humanitarian action. During crises and conflict, violence against women and girls is staggering. And women do not stop getting pregnant and having babies when crisis strikes -- we must provide them with the services and the support they need,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director.

In 2020, the world will face enormous humanitarian challenges: one out of every 45 people will be affected by a crisis. Right now more than 168 million people need humanitarian assistance worldwide. 

UNFPA is currently assisting millions of women and girls affected by emergencies: from Bangladesh, Venezuela and Yemen to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and 52 other countries affected by natural disaster, war or conflict. 

In 2019, UNFPA humanitarian assistance reached over 19 million people in 64 countries.  Around 7.3 million women received sexual and reproductive health services, including antenatal and postnatal care, emergency obstetric and newborn care, and the clinical management of rape. Over 2.4 million people obtained family planning services.

UNFPA’s 2020 Humanitarian Action Overview includes the following requests: 

  • $100.5 million for life-saving assistance for Yemen, the largest humanitarian crisis and the top humanitarian requirement for UNFPA in 2020. Nearly 80 per cent of the population requires humanitarian assistance, including more than half a million pregnant women in need of antenatal care, skilled birth assistance and nutritional support. 
  • $65.2 million for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world’s worst protracted crises, facing armed conflicts, food insecurity, and recurring epidemics. Of the nearly 16 million people in need, 3.5 million are women and girls of reproductive age. Gender-based violence is endemic and UNFPA is coordinating support to over 30,000 survivors per year.
  • $57 million for the Syrian Arab Republic, where over 13 million people require assistance, including 3.4 million women and girls of reproductive age. An overstretched health system and continuing attacks on health facilities challenge the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, and the risks of gender-based violence remain acute.
  • $53 million for Sudan, where thousands of women face danger and lack of access to safe delivery and reproductive health care. Only 32 per cent of emergency obstetric and neonatal facilities are fully functioning. In 2020, some 9.3 million people require aid.
  • $21.4 million for Bangladesh, which hosts more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. UNFPA supports 34 health facilities that provide emergency obstetric care and 22 safe spaces offering information, services and psychosocial support to women and girls.
  • $17.7 million for Venezuela and neigbouring countries, as 4 million people have crossed into Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. An estimated one in four are women and girls of reproductive age, who need sexual and reproductive health services. Refugees and migrants face heightened risk of gender-based violence, including trafficking and sexual exploitation.

About UNFPA

UNFPA works to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. 
 
For more information about UNFPA and its work visit: www.unfpa.org
 
For more information, please contact: 

Ann Erb Leoncavallo: +1 917 860 7256: leoncavallo@unfpa.org  

Malene Arboe-Rasmussen:  +1 201 253 6679;  
arboe-rasmussen@unfpa.org

Eddie Wright: +1 917 831 2074; ewright@unfpa.org