The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Bangladesh is seeking USD1.5 million USD to scale up emergency reproductive health services and safety for women and newborns impacted by Cyclone Mora. Initial assessments reveal that more than 300,000 people had to be evacuated from cyclone-affected areas. In the hardest-hit district of Cox’s Bazar 72,000 women and girls of reproductive age have been directly affected and require immediate access to sexual and reproductive health services. This includes 4,400 pregnant and lactating women, 1,300 of whom are expected to deliver in the next three months. UNFPA is immediately redeploying midwives to hard health facilities in hard-to-reach areas and has sent 300 “Clean Delivery Kits” that include all essential equipment for child delivery. Midwives will provide basic emergency obstetric and newborn care. They will serve cycloneaffected women and girls, especially those among the undocumented Myanmar nationals staying in Cox’s Bazar district.
An estimated 19,400 girls and women are also at an increased risk of experiencing genderbased violence within the next 12 months in Cox’s Bazar district. Women and girls report feeling unsafe visiting bathing and latrine areas unaccompanied due to a lack of privacy and adequate lighting. The perceived shame of wearing wet, soiled clothing also prevents them from accessing relief services and participating in public life. To help girls and women move around more freely and confidently, UNFPA is distributing thousands of “Dignity Kits” – which include burkas, personal hygiene supplies, a flashlight and a whistle. UNFPA is also working with police to increase nighttime safety patrols. Additionally, UNFPA is establishing more “Women Friendly Spaces” to provide shelter, referral services and professional case management for survivors of gender-based violence. UNFPA has mobilized its resources, but requires additional funding to meet the overwhelming needs it continues to uncover in managing the Cyclone Mora response. UNFPA is coordinating efforts with partner UN agencies, civil society and the government of Bangladesh.