LEGAZPI, Philippines – “I was washing clothes near my house when I heard the eruption from Mayon Volcano,” Jiassal Balatinsayo, told UNFPA. Eight months pregnant and residing almost 7 kilometres away from an erupting volcano in the village of Santa Misericordia, Ms. Balatinsayo, 37, fled with her husband, followed by their five children on 17 January.
As we begin 2018, we are delighted to have ended 2017 on a high note, confident that we helped make investment in young people the rallying call of the year. Our response to the call of the African Union to develop a roadmap on the demographic dividend has led to actions in the 55 member states, as well as by United Nations agencies, partners, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, and youth groups around the 2017 theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth.” We believe that this message is now beginning to sink in.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
Tropical Depression (TD07) was named as Tropical Cyclone Gita on 10 February 2018. TC Gita started as a Cat 1 near Wallis and Futuna, passed through Samoa as a Cat 2 on 10 February, Niue on 11 February, Tonga as a Cat 4 on 12 February and the Southern Lau group of Fiji as Cat 4 on February 13.
Situation overview, including security issues
Erbil, Iraq, 10 February 2018 – The Government of Japan announced a US$ 2 million contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Iraq in support of the Fund’s reproductive health (RH) and gender-based violence (GBV) programmes across the country.
JUBA, South Sudan – Nyomon Lilian will never forget the day she decided to become a midwife.
It was a few years ago, in her hometown of Kajo Keji, in South Sudan’s Equatoria region. She watched as her neighbour bled out after giving birth.
The woman was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late. She died, leaving behind five small children.
“Watching my neighbour die during childbirth emboldened me to make the decision to enrol in midwifery [school],” said Ms. Nyomon, 25. “The woman assisting her had no knowledge of what to do.”
FALAM, Myanmar – Ngun Hlei was lucky to have seen a midwife during her third pregnancy. Many women in Myanmar don’t.
“I felt very unwell for many months during that pregnancy. But what could I do? I carried on with my work making snacks for selling at the market,” she explained recently in the rural town of Falam, in north-western Myanmar.
“I didn’t stop to think that there could be a serious problem until I saw the midwife,” she added.
Thousands of families fled from the conflict in in Kasai in DR Congo to Lunda Norte province northeast in Angola at the beginning of 2017, and 35,085 people have been registered as refugees. More than one out of four families are female headed households and 75% of the refugees are women and children.
EL OBEID, Sudan – In the early 1980s, Abdullah Ali Abdullah saw constant infections and childbirth complications while volunteering in a health centre in Sudan’s North Kordofan state. He soon realized many of these issues had the same root cause – female genital mutilation (FGM).
“This was my first experience with FGM,” he recalled recently. “I saw the reality of it through volunteering at the health centre.”
It led Mr. Abdullah – who goes by the name Aljaile – to ask: “Why do people do this to their girls?”
It is a question he would pursue for 30 years.
Foreword by the Executive Director
Every woman has the right to decide whether or when she will become pregnant, and the right to give birth safely and live free from violence.
Yet every day, millions of women and girls whose lives have been upended by wars, conflicts or natural disasters are denied these rights. When we speak of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first, there can be no more compelling example of exactly whom we are speaking about.
MANILA, Philippines, 26 January 2017— Mayon Volcano, located in Albay province, 300 km southeast of Manila, is showing high levels of unrest, with lava fountains and frequent ash explosions as high as 600 metres. Local authorities are warning of an imminent hazardous eruption within the next few days.
Provincial and municipal authorities are leading the disaster response with the support of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development field office and the Philippine Red Cross.
As people flee their homes, escaping armed conflict in northern Myanmar, UNFPA is working to meet the immediate hygiene and protection needs of the displaced women and girls. Working with partner International Rescue Committee, UNFPA reached six camps in Mansi, Kachin and in Namkhan, northern Shan. 100 dignity kits were delivered to newly displaced women and adolescent girls.
YANGON, Myanmar – Every year, almost 50,000 teenage girls in Myanmar give birth, according to data from the 2014 census. Thiri* was one of them. She became pregnant when she was only 15 years old.
“My boyfriend and I were in love. We were so close and so sweet to each other. We were happy when we were together,” she told UNFPA.
But the pregnancy turned her life upside down.
“I was devastated,” she said. “I’ve always loved going to school. But when got pregnant, I was forced to leave school.”
AL-TABQA CITY, Syria – A new reproductive health clinic has been opened in the embattled northern Syrian city of Al-Tabqa, which has been the site of intense fighting over the past five years.
The second largest city in Raqqa Governorate, Al-Tabqa was retaken from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS or Da’esh) seven months ago, and is now rapidly filling with displaced families.
The Republic of Korea has stepped up its long-running support for UNFPA’s response to gender-based violence (GBV) in Afghanistan with a recent contribution of $5.4 million.
These funds will help sustain UNFPA’s projects, established through the national government as well as local governments, to prevent and respond to GBV through the end of 2020. These projects are currently active in 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, and will expand over the next year to reach 24 provinces.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH December 2017
Continuing cross-border interventions from Turkey and Jordan in 2018
Security Council Resolution 2393 was adopted, renewing the provisions of Resolution 2165 for an additional 12 months. This will enable UNFPA to continue supporting people in need, working with implementing partners through cross-border interventions from Turkey and Jordan.
UNFPA delivers aid to previously unreached Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo
17 January 2018
ATHENS, Greece/UNITED NATIONS, New York – Over two years ago, Greece became the centre of a refugee and migration crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people streaming into the country, many of them risking death to escape war, persecution and deprivation. In 2016 alone, some 173,000 people arrived in Greece, overwhelming local communities and resources.