Press Release

UNFPA Provides Emergency Assistance in Wake of Noel, Asks Donors for $615,000

09 November 2007

UNITED NATIONS, New York – UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is appealing to international donors for $615,000 to step up its efforts to protect the reproductive health and safety of survivors of Tropical Storm Noel in the Dominican Republic.

The storm, which caused major flooding, landslides and the destruction of bridges when it swept across the Dominican Republic last week, has left more than 80 people dead and forced at least 65,000 from their homes.

More than a third of the displaced are living in crowded shelters, while more than 100 communities remain inaccessible due to flooding. In addition to its efforts to safeguard maternal health, UNFPA is working with UNICEF to raise awareness of, and address, the needs of vulnerable groups, including women, children and adolescents.

UNFPA’s request to donors for $615,000 is part of a $14 million UN-wide appeal issued this week, and would help to cover the following activities:

- rapid assessment of health needs, including psychosocial, and the special needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls;

- re-establishing reproductive health services in local areas, including in shelters for the displaced; and

-preventing and responding to cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

UNFPA is also working to protect women, girls and other vulnerable groups (including the elderly and the disabled) in the Dominican Republic by providing legal, medical and psychosocial information and services to affected groups, in addition to gender training to humanitarian workers.

Other UNFPA country offices are responding to the damage wrought by the storm as well. In Haiti, where the storm also displaced thousands of people, UNFPA is advocating for measures to protect women and girls from violence in displacement shelters and is contributing to rapid assessments. The Fund is also collaborating with other UN agencies and the Government of Mexico to address the effects of massive flooding and displacement in the state of Tabasco. Mexican President Felipe Calderón has called the situation there, which left more than 80 per cent of the region under water, “one of the worst [natural catastrophes] in the recent history of the country.” The United Nations expects to issue an appeal for Mexico next week.

Contact Information:

David del Vecchio
UNFPA Humanitarian Response Unit
Tel.: +1 (212) 297-4975

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