September 28, 2015 By Regina Pratt
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has taken the lead, in line with its mandate to address the healthcare needs of pregnant women, lactating mothers, new-born and adolescent girls, in ensuring that no woman dies giving birth and that each woman and girl is protected from violence.
In a press release from the Country Office in Freetown, UNFPA says it had responded to the humanitarian situation caused by torrential rains in the city, adding that the flood destroyed properties worth millions of Leones, caused injury to many and reportedly claimed seven lives.
“An estimated over 4000 people have been displaced by the incident, and among them a number of pregnant women, lactating mothers and girls of reproductive age, who are in need of urgent care and protection,” the release states.
The release also states that when emergencies like the 16 September flood occur, they increase the vulnerability of women, children and adolescent girls, thus presenting an urgent need for victims’ health, security and well-being to be prioritised, especially when the Sierra Leone Country Disaster Management team has described the flood incident as the worst in the capital in decades.
The release further states that in addition to direct service provision to those in need, UNFPA is working closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children’s Affairs to lead the Registration Pillar of the United Nations Coordinated response effort to the Flood Emergency.
“MSWGCA and UNFPA will identify and disaggregate populations, placing emphasis on identifying those most in need, including pregnant women, lactating mothers, and newborn under six months, identifying the vulnerable and working to ensure their health, safety, and rights are prioritized and promoted,” the release added.
The release concludes that UNFPA will continue to play a vital role in supporting emergency relief services through the provision of essential reproductive health care to affected women and girls, including supporting the provision of mobile clinics to affected communities outside of the stadium, mobilising midwives and health workers to provide services to the displaced and providing essential supplies, including dignity kits.