UNFPA Pacific, Suva, Fiji (March 8, 2016) - The Government of Australia has provided an additional AU$400,000.00 (FJ$629,000.00) to support the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, response to Cyclone Winston, addressing protection needs of women and girls through sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services.
UNFPA Pacific Director and Representative Dr Laurent Zessler said the monetary support from the Government of Australia was both timely and would be critical to action on the ground.
"The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, acknowledges with great appreciation the generosity of the Government and people of Australia," Dr Zessler said.
"Australia has always supported sexual and reproductive health and rights issues as a firm advocate for gender equity. This contribution will see the fruition of intended response by the UNFPA particularly in terms of protection issues for women and girls."
Of the 350,000 directly affected population, 170,000 are female with 87,500 women of reproductive age. Of the 53,635 people that reportedly remain displaced and are still in evacuation centers, 27,751 of them are female. It is estimated that there are more than 5,600 pregnant women with around 800 of them expected to experience obstetric complications requiring emergency obstetric care.
Eight of the 204 health care facilities in the affected areas have sustained major damage while 55 had minor damage to infrastructure. This has a huge negative impact on access to life-saving maternal and neonatal health services which further puts women and their newborn at high risk of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
In relation to protection issues, the Australian aid will, among other activities, strengthen outreach to affected and at-risk women and girls, including through the procurement and distribution of additional dignity kits; ensure training and/or orienting first aid and other health workers on psychosocial support in collaboration with United Nations (UN) partners and local partners; and develop capacity of affected communities and women's' groups on gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies.
The Government of Australia has also enabled the UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office to preposition clean delivery kits, which have been and will continue to be distributed to health facilities.