UNITED NATIONS, New York, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is working as part of the coordinated United Nations response and with other partners to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to those who have been affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Experts are carrying out assessments in Port-au-Prince to determine the extent of the human toll and material damages in as much detail as possible.
"UNFPA extends solidarity, compassion and sympathy to the people of Haiti who are suffering from the devastating consequences of the earthquake. We are sending reproductive health supplies to meet the special needs of women, to prevent women from dying in pregnancy and to ensure safe deliveries," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA's Executive Director.
UNFPA is prioritizing assistance to pregnant women in the impacted areas who are especially vulnerable during the crisis. It is estimated that one quarter of the impacted population are women of childbearing age, with thousands of pregnant women among them. Haiti has the highest rate of maternal death in the region—670 deaths per 100,000 live births—and with limited or no access to health facilities, pregnant women are at an even greater risk for complications and death related to pregnancy and childbirth.
UNFPA's immediate humanitarian response includes delivering emergency reproductive health kits that contain essential drugs, equipment and supplies to provide life-saving services to pregnant women. During periods following a major natural disaster, women often lose access to basic health services. UNFPA will also work to ensure that women and girls have access to basic hygiene supplies so that they can live with dignity, even amidst the worst circumstances.
"The health of the community at large and its capacity to absorb and recover from a disaster of this magnitude depends to a significant extent on the well-being of women," said Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Chief of the UNFPA's Humanitarian Response Branch. "Taking care of women's needs will also help them to take care of the needs of others in their families and communities."
SOURCE UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund