Photo Credit: UNFPA Philippines
The strongest storm ever recorded struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013, killing thousands of people and leaving millions homeless across a wide path of devastation in 10 provinces. Of the more than 14 million people affected, more than 3.5 million are women and girls of child-bearing age.
Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, destroyed or damaged hundreds of health care facilities and disrupted services, putting the affected population in greater danger of illness and death. UNFPA estimates that there are more than 250,000 pregnant and 169,000 breastfeeding women in the typhoon-hit areas. Some 1,000 childbirths are taking place every day, with 150 women expected to experience potentially life-threatening complications.
Women and girls displaced from their homes are more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence and to trafficking.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is part of the coordinated international response to Haiyan, assisting the Philippine Government in restoring services and providing protection and care for those affected. It is taking a lead role in ensuring reproductive and sexual health including safe childbirth, and in addressing the protection needs of women and girls.
Among its priorities to support the affected communities, UNFPA is working to:
- Help determine reproductive health and protection needs, as part of interagency assessment teams.
- Provide clinical delivery equipment, essential supplies and medicines for health centres and temporary birthing facilities.
- Provide clean delivery kits for pregnant women – supplies that reduce the risk of fatal infections for those who cannot access a clinic.
- Help restore primary health care services, including basic emergency obstetric care.
- Distribute hygiene kits to women and girls of childbearing age, especially to those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Provide psychosocial services to displaced people.
- Establish women-friendly spaces in displacement centres, and train camp managers on prevention measures.
- Strengthen the capacity of police and local governments to prevent and manage gender-based violence.
For pregnant women displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, UNFPA has assembled “dignity kits” filled with essential supplies for survival and personal hygiene. Each kit costs $25. Donate a dignity kit today!
As part of the UN’s Typhoon Haiyan Action Plan, UNFPA is seeking $30 million from international donors to address these priorities.
Impact of Typhoon Haiyan (as of February 2014) :
- Total affected population: 14.1 million
- People displaced: 4.1 million
- Women of child-bearing age: 3.5 million
- Pregnant women: 254,117
- Breastfeeding mothers (with babies 0-6 months): 169,412