UNFPA Philippines, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, is seeking urgent donations to help provide life-saving supplies and services to communities hard hit by Super Typhoon Odette (Rai).
During natural disasters, sexual and reproductive health needs are often overlooked. Pregnant women risk life-threatening complications without access to delivery and emergency obstetric care services. Women and girls may lose access to family planning services, exposing them to unintended pregnancy, and women and girls are also more vulnerable to sexual violence.
According to UNFPA Philippines estimates, the disaster has impacted some 4 million women and girls of reproductive age in 13 provinces. Among them, an estimated 162,000 are believed to be pregnant currently, of whom 24,000 might experience complications. An estimated 470,000 women living in the affected areas have an unmet need for family planning information and services, including contraceptives. The long-running challenge of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence, escalates further.
Addressing gender-based violence and meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls is a key pillar of UNFPA Philippine’s humanitarian response, as seen in previous crises, including Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
Supporting the efforts of the Government of the Philippines and partner organizations, UNFPA Philippines is calling for donations as part of the Typhoon Odette emergency response to raise funds to help the most vulnerable women and girls, pregnant women, lactating mothers and their newborns, adolescents and young people, and women with disabilities who are currently at risk.
Donations raised will help support UNFPA’s three transformative results:
First: No women should die during pregnancy or childbirth.
Emergency maternity tent facilities will be set up to augment destroyed health facilities. In addition, maternity packs will be made available for postpartum mothers and their newborns for life-saving hygiene supplies unique to their needs.
Second: No women and adolescent girls should have an unmet need for sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning.
Adolescent girls and women have unique needs which in times of emergencies are often overlooked. UNFPA deploys dignity kits with essential health supplies to reach women of reproductive age to support their wellbeing, dignity and protection needs. In addition, Go Bags are provided for adolescent girls and boys for basic hygiene, protection, and well-being. This includes meeting the menstrual hygiene needs of adolescent girls. Critical life-saving sexual and reproductive health information and services, psychosocial support, education, and social behavior communication change interventions will also be delivered. UNFPA supports the government in ensuring that women have continuous access to family planning information and services.
Third: No sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls.
Gender-based violence is significantly exacerbated by displacement during disasters. UNFPA mobilizes community-based volunteers to monitor, report and raise awareness on gender-based violence and the services available for the survivors. Safe spaces for women, girls, and adolescents are being set-up as well to advocate for their unique needs and to ensure life-saving services are provided for them. Ultimately, UNFPA monitors and advocates for reactivation of protection mechanisms and access to Women and Children Protection Units to support care and recovery of survivors of violence.
How can people of goodwill help? Support the efforts of UNFPA Philippines for survivors of Typhoon Odette (Rai), by visiting the UNFPA Philippines Donation Page, or donate via the Giving Hero app at UNFPA-Giving Hero Donation Page, through Paymaya at UNFPA-PayMaya Typhoon #OdettePH Response or the UNFPA-Lazada Charity Store, where people who would like to help can choose to donate through vouchers for items such as emergency birth kits, dignity kits, (Mama) Nanay kits and Go Bags for adolescents.