Ensuring coverage for women and girls in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam: UNFPA

17 March 2015

UNFPA PACIFIC, Suva (March 17, 2014) - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Sub-Regional Office (PSRO) has committed up to $35 million VATU and will provide essential emergency reproductive health supplies towards the United Nations Cyclone Pam recovery efforts, with the Government of Vanuatu.

UNFPA Pacific also informed the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in a meeting of all agencies March 17 (2015) that UNFPA staff will be available for deployment if the need for their field expertise is identified.

UNFPA Pacific Programme Analyst Gideon Mael and Family Planning & Youth Sexual Reproductive Health Specialist Claire Davies are undertaking assessments on the ground, participating in discussions on inter-agency responses and working with the Ministry of Health.

"The Vila Central Hospital requires urgent repairs and may require longer-term reconstruction," Mr Mael said from Port Vila.

"Monday (March 16) has been a day of preparations of our support to a Government-led response and today (March 17) has been more about action in ascertaining information with no power in most parts and serious damage to communication infrastructure."

The Vanuatu Humanitarian Team has confirmed 3,300 evacuees to date, 37 evacuation centers have been opened in Efate, the island on which the capital Port Vila is located. UNFPA Pacific has pre-positioned dignity kits, radios and flashlights.

UNFPA reproductive health in emergencies kits include kits for medical response to sexual violence, clinical delivery assistance, management of miscarriage and suture of tears (cervical and vaginal) and vaginal examination.

"Our response is based on analysis and information to ensure our contribution is targeted and therefore will benefit ni-Vanuatu women and families," UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office Representative and Director Dr Laurent Zessler said.

Based on findings of the 2013 Demographic Health Survey, UNFPA Pacific there are about 56,000 women of reproductive age of which 6,700 are estimated to be pregnant. It is estimated that 100 women may experience pregnancy related complications in the next month or 900 women in the next nine months.

Findings from violence against women prevalence study in 2012 conducted in Vanuatu reported 60 per cent intimate partner violence and 48 per cent non-partner violence. Gender-based violence can be acerbated in evacuation centres and in host-family accommodation.

The UNFPA Pacific is working in coordination with the UNOCHA to ensure a complementary and informed approach at all times.

The use of Port Vila (Vanuatu) images with the generous permission of Michelle McConell-Wilson.]

For more information, please contact:

Port Vila, Vanuatu

Gideon Mael, Programme Analyst on +678 7774412

Claire Davies, Family Planning & Youth Sexual Reproductive Health Specialist on + 678 5433557

Suva, Fiji

Ariela Zibiah, Communication Analyst, on +679 8682097