UN population fund earmarks $540,000 for women, girls in flood-hit central Vietnam

By Minh Nga   October 31, 2020 | 04:33 pm PT
UN population fund earmarks $540,000 for women, girls in flood-hit central Vietnam
Le Thi Thuong stands with her daughter and grandchild in front of their damaged house in Quang Binh Province, central Vietnam, after floods receded, October 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam has given $540,000 in immediate support to women and girls in six central provinces affected by flooding.

UNFPA funding and support includes the distribution of hygiene items and maternal health equipment. It is also supporting the delivery of mobile and outreach sexual and reproductive health services.

The central region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since October 6, resulting in at least 230 people dead or missing. Storm Molave hit the region on October 28, reportedly one of the strongest in 20 years.

At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including more than 1.3 million women of reproductive age, over 92,000 of them pregnant mothers, who need uninterrupted services for pregnancy and menstruation, UNFPA said.

According to joint rapid assessment led by UNFPA last week, health facilities have been hit hard by floods and landslides, and routine public health programs such as antenatal, delivery, post-natal care and family planning services have been disrupted.

As a result, local women are unable to manage their hygiene properly and lack access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear needed to manage menstrual periods. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose of used materials, is currently challenged, the organization explained.

On October 12, a 35-year-old pregnant mother living in Phong Dien District of Thua Thien-Hue Province died on her way to give birth.

She entered labor in the morning, with her husband hiring a boat to take her to a local medical center for delivery. However, the boat was upturned and she was swept away by floodwater.

Her husband and local residents tried to look for her, but failed because of the fast-flowing current. Her body was found in the afternoon.

Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA representative in Vietnam, said: "When emergencies like this strike, life changes in a moment. This natural disaster has already destroyed thousands of homes and forced people to flee. Women and girls are among the most vulnerable. Women do not need to die giving birth, and this must hold true even in emergencies.

"While fleeing, people are in need of basic necessities – ranging from food and water to hygienic supplies and medical care."

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