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More support sent to local disaster-hit women and girls

by NDO11 January 2021 Last updated at 19:00 PM

Representatives from the Vietnam Farmers’ Union receive the kits from UNFPA in Vietnam. (Photo provided by UNFPA in Vietnam)
Representatives from the Vietnam Farmers’ Union receive the kits from UNFPA in Vietnam. (Photo provided by UNFPA in Vietnam)

VTV.vn - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided an additional 6,903 Dignity Kits to support women and girls at risk of violence in central Vietnam, which was badly hit by natural disasters last year.

At a signing ceremony held recently in Hanoi, Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, handed over 6,903 kits to Thao Xuan Sung, Chairman of the Central Committee of Vietnam Farmers’ Union, for distribution to women at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) in Vietnam’s five flood-affected provinces, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa.

This follows the UNFPA’s earlier handover of dignity kits to the Vietnam Farmer’s Union to mitigate the negative consequences of COVID-19 and to help women at risk of GBV in flood-affected provinces.

Up to now, about 12,474 women in eight provinces have received the kits. The latest handover was made possible with financial contributions from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

The country’s central coastal region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since early October, resulting in more than 200 deaths so far, with thousands of people displaced. At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including an estimated 1.3 million women of reproductive age, 92,075 of them pregnant.

Pregnancy and menstruation do not stop in emergencies, and as such, uninterrupted services for sexual and reproductive health must be provided to women and girls. The risk of violence against women and girls increases in times of crisis, effective prevention and responses must be in place.

According to a joint rapid assessment carried out with support from the UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency last month, health facilities in the most heavily affected areas of central Vietnam have been hit hard by floods and landslides, and routine public health programmes such as antenatal, child birth, post-natal care and family planning services have been disrupted. Women and girls continue to be unable to access basic health care services, including those dealing with sexual and reproductive health.

The disaster has forced women and girls to be displaced to 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 basics such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose of used materials, is currently challenging, while many destitute women remain unemployed during and after the floods and also suffer from domestic violence or are subject to harassment. These particular vulnerabilities and problems interrupt women’s mitigative efforts and adaptation capacities in terms of disaster risk reduction.

Dignity Kits are a signature product of the UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and respond and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by crisis.

Each kit is comprised of basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect, and dignity in the face of crisis, Naomi Kitahara said, adding that preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which is needed in order to cope with stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations.

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