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19 janvier 2016

Women in Humanitarian Crisis Need more Assistance

According to the State of World Population Report of 2015 which was entitled “Shelter from the Storm”, the number of people who need humanitarian assistance has more increased than at any other time since the end of World War two. Among 100 million people in need of humanitarian assistance around the world today, about 26 million are women and adolescent girls of reproductive age whose need and right must be met. Apart from registering a high number, women are considered more vulnerable to humanitarian crisis around the world. Thus, any crisis or changes in climate such as droughts and floods affect their livelihoods, incomes and food security more than they do for men.

This was also emphasized last year in peace media training by FSDS in collaboration with the UK government. “Anytime peace lacks, children and women are the one to be affected first” Said Mr. Patrice NSENGIYUMVA, Country Director of FSDS. He mentioned that in wars, conflicted periods, gender based violence among women and young girls, lack of health services, child rights violation, and problems with child nutrition are usually alarming especially among refugees and displaced people.

Mr. Patrice addressing to journalists during the last training(Photo, File)

From the State of World Population report, UNFPA states health needs of women and adolescents are too often neglected in humanitarian response to natural disasters and conflicts around the world, which usually result in deaths and suffering, which could be prevented.

Refugees fleeing (Photo internet)
Sexual and reproductive health services are among essential needs for women and adolescents of humanitarian crisis countries. Three fifths of maternal deaths today occur in countries that are considered fragile because of conflict or disaster. Pregnancy and childbirth kill 507 women every day in these settings.
UNFPA highlighted that without the usual protection of family and community, women and adolescents are more vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, like HIV. Basic needs for safe childbirth, family planning and reproductive health care are rarely met when women and adolescents become priority from the lifeline of health systems.
Women vulnerability to humanitarian crisis is due to the fact that they continue to give birth even in worse situation.

During the official launch of the State of World Population Report 2015 at Lemigo

"Having the means to prevent a pregnancy and being safe from sexual violence-these are basic human rights, Rights don’t just go away, and women don’t stop giving birth when a conflict breaks out or disaster strikes." Josef MAERIEN, the UNFPA representative.

Protecting the health and rights of women and adolescents is not only critical to weathering the worsening storm of wars and natural disasters, but can also accelerate recovery from crises, the UNFPA report shows.

Written by Norbert NIYITEGEKA, FSDS Media and Communication Officer.