“When emergencies like this strike, life changes in a moment,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam. “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.”

A teacher in Ha Tinh province cleaning up a local school after flooding 

“While fleeing, people are in need of basic necessities, ranging from food and water to hygienic supplies and medical care,” she went on. “UNFPA is striving to assist the Government in restoring and improving the lives of flood victims, particularly the most vulnerable. UNFPA expresses sympathy for victims and their families affected by the latest tragedy, especially women and girls. This contribution underlines our solidarity with the people of Vietnam, many of whom have suffered the loss of homes, livelihoods, and belongings in the wake of the devastating floods.”

According to the joint rapid assessment carried out in October, in which UNFPA experts played a lead role in the most affected areas of central Vietnam, health facilities have been hit hard by floods and landslides, and routine public health programmes such as antenatal, delivery, post-natal care and family planning services have been disrupted. Women and girls continue to be unable to access basic healthcare services, including sexual and reproductive health.

The disaster forced women and girls to move to evacuation centres without having time to pack essential supplies. They are unable to manage their hygiene properly as a result and lack access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes, and underwear, which are needed to manage their 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 UNFPA funding and support includes the distribution of Dignity Kits, with essential hygiene items, along with vital maternal health equipment (such as the Doppler Foetal Heart Rate Detector, which detects the heartbeat of a pregnant woman’s foetus). In addition, UNFPA is supporting the delivery of mobile and outreach sexual and reproductive health services, as part of the wider health sector response to violence against women and girls in flood-affected areas.

Source: VNA