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UNFPA assists women, girls affected by floods in central region

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam has provided aid worth 540,000 USD in support of women and girls in Vietnam’s six central provinces affected by devastating floods.

“When emergencies like this strike, life changes in a moment. This natural disaster has already destroyed thousands of homes and forced people to flee. Women and girls are among the most vulnerable. Women do not need to die giving birth, and this must hold true even in emergencies,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam.

“While fleeing, people are in need of basic necessities – ranging from food and water to hygienic supplies and medical care. UNFPA is striving to assist the Government of Vietnam in restoring and improving the lives of the flood victims, particularly the most vulnerable,” she added.

“UNFPA expresses sympathy for victims and their families affected by the latest tragedy, especially women and girls. This contribution underlines our solidarity with the people of Vietnam, many of whom have suffered the loss of homes, livelihoods and belongings in the wake of the devastating floods.”

According to the joint rapid assessment carried out last week, in which UNFPA experts played a lead role in the most affected areas of central Vietnam, health facilities have been hit hard by floods and landslides, and routine public health programmes such as antenatal, delivery, post-natal care and family planning services have been disrupted. Women and girls continue to be unable to access basic health care services, including sexual and reproductive health.

The disaster has forced women and girls to displacement in evacuation centres without having the time to pack essential supplies. As a result, they are unable to manage their hygiene properly and lack access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear that are needed to manage their menstrual periods. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose of used materials, is currently challenged.

The UNFPA funding and support includes the distribution of Dignity Kits with essential hygiene items, along with vital maternal health equipment (such as the Doppler Fetal Heart Rate Detector, which detects the heartbeat of a pregnant woman’s foetus). In addition, UNFPA is supporting the delivery of mobile and outreach sexual and reproductive health services, as part of the wider health sector response to violence against women and girls in flood-affected areas.

Vietnam’s central coastal region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since early October, resulting in at least 130 deaths recorded so far, with 18 persons listed as missing. On October 28, storm Molave battered the region - one of the strongest storms in 20 years. At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including an estimated 1,343,162 women of reproductive age with 92,075 of them pregnant.