UNFPA Responds to Multiple Disasters in Asia and the Pacific
07 October 2009
07 October 2009
BANGKOK—Following the recent series of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is providing humanitarian assistance in affected countries throughout the region. As part of the coordinated United Nations response and working through local partners, the Fund is primarily addressing reproductive health needs, particularly those of displaced pregnant women.
Indonesia. UNFPA is actively helping the three districts in West Sumatra most affected by last week’s three deadly earthquakes, working closely with local officials and the Indonesia Midwives Association. The Fund estimates that 30,000 women need immediate assistance for reproductive health needs and psychosocial counselling. UNFPA is working to provide midwives with supplies they need to ensure clean deliveries. Hospitals will receive essential equipment and supplies for emergency obstetric and neonatal care. With help from the Indonesian Women Coalition and the provincial Women’s Empowerment Agency, the Fund has begun to provide personal hygiene kits to expectant mothers and those who have recently delivered as well as to other displaced women. UNFPA also plans to support psychosocial counselling in 15 health centres and two hospitals.
Philippines. A UNFPA assessment found that Tropical Storm Ketsana interrupted reproductive health services in eight affected areas, leaving pregnant women without antenatal care and iron supplements. On 5 October,
midwives from the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines and the Government conducted prenatal checkups in six Taguig City schools sheltering 11,500 people displaced by metro-Manila’s worst flooding in four decades. They found 163 pregnant women in the shelters; three women had already given birth there without the aid of skilled birth attendants. Volunteers from the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines distributed hygiene kits. The medical team plans to visit at least 60 more evacuation centres in the next few days.
Viet Nam. As part of the United Nations country team’s coordinated relief efforts in the wake of Ketsana, UNFPA will mobilize support for the Ministry of Health and the Viet Nam Family Planning Association in addressing reproductive health concerns.
Samoa. UNFPA has flown in several hundred personal hygiene dignity kits to be distributed to women and girls affected by the tsunamis that followed the massive earthquake on 29 September; more will be sent this week. It also plans to send supplies to ensure clean deliveries in homes and community centres, as well as equipment for deliveries at health centres, depending on need.
Tonga. UNFPA is in the process of supplying dignity kits to the victims of the 29 September tsunami, along with medical supplies and equipment for the hospital that was destroyed on the island of Niuatoputapu.
Bhutan. UNFPA has joined other United Nations agencies in supplying tents and hygiene supplies for families left homeless by the 21 September earthquake, and plans to help restore services in dozens of affected health centres.
William A. Ryan
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