With more than half of all maternal deaths occurring in countries affected by humanitarian crises and fragility, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is calling for greater international support to provide life-saving reproductive health and protection services in these locations.
The sexual and reproductive health agency has launched a $683 million appeal this year to assist nearly 48 million women, girls and young people in 57 countries affected by conflict or natural disasters.
“Women and girls pay a high price in conflicts that they had no role in creating. It is time to prioritize their rights, safety, and dignity in humanitarian action. During crises and conflict, violence against women and girls is staggering”, said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director.
“Women do not stop getting pregnant and having babies when crisis strikes. We must provide them with the services and the support they need.”
UNFPA’s Humanitarian Action 2020 Overview outlines how women and girls face unique challenges during humanitarian disasters, including increased risk of death from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV).
Through the plan, UNFPA and its partners will provide life-saving sexual and reproductive health supplies and services, prevention and response to gender-based violence, and mental health and psychosocial support.
More than $100 million of the funding will go to Yemen, where nearly 80 percent of the population requires humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing conflict. This includes over half a million pregnant women in need of antenatal care, skilled birth assistance and nutritional support.