General

Supporting floods victims: UNFPA hands over dignity kits to Lao Women’s Union

Responding to the recent floods that have affected the country, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) handed over 200 sets of dignity kits to the Lao Women’s Union. They will be routed to the flood-affected families, especially women and girls of reproductive age (15-49) in Savannakhet.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare reported that last month Vilabouly, Nong, Phin and Xepon districts of Savannakhet were hit by flash flooding amid torrential rains that lasted a week.

National interventions are underway for a rapid response to leave no one stranded by the floods in the affected villages.

According to the Savannakhet’s situation report, over 32,800 people across five districts have been affected by the floods, and more than 2,600 people have been evacuated. Those rescued were placed in temporary centres, tents, schools and relatives’ houses.

Each year, the floods hit various districts, particularly in rural areas where residents already face huge challenges to access health facilities and seek care and support due to the rough roads and long distances to walk.

The natural disasters only exacerbate difficulties accessing primary services, including sexual and reproductive health. Residents, especially women and children, not only lost their homes and livelihoods due to the floods but they also lack basic necessities.

It is these basic necessities that are often forgotten during emergencies. However, women continue to give birth, and girls will require menstruation pads and hygiene. Those necessities do not stop in these humanitarian circumstances–rather, they are needed more than ever.

The donation represents humanitarian assistance and contribution from UNFPA to the Lao government. To protect the dignity and wellbeing of women, particularly pregnant women and adolescent girls, Affected women and girls of 200 families will receive towels, pairs of shoes, whistles, mosquito repellents, soap boxes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, cotton T-shirts, LED flashlights, skirts for women (Lao sinh tam), sanitary packs, plastic bowls, waterproof bags to pack all items, packs of combs, pairs of underwear, and plastic bag. These kits will be provided on Nov 8-10 to at least.

“Well-being of women and girls are the central to UNFPA work. When disaster strikes, we at UNFPA ensure that reproductive health needs and protection of women and girls receive immediate attention. The dignity kits meet the basic needs of women and girls for hygiene, mobility and psychosocial social wellbeing,” said Representative of UNFPA in the Lao PDR Mariam A. Khan.

“UNFPA is a long term ally to the Lao PDR helping afford rapid response during humanitarian settings.

UNFPA contribution plays an essential role in advancing the protection of women and girls from Gender Based Violence and to close the gap by responding to the needs of the affected families, especially women and adolescent girls,” said President of the Lao Women’s Union Inlavanh Keobounphanh.

UNFPA in the Lao PDR has always expressed its readiness to support the government on the ground and to coordinate the response to the immediate needs of affected families, and will continue to do so as the need arises.

Source: Lao News Agency