31 Mar 2015

UNFPA looks at women's needs in post-cyclone Vanuatu

8:55 am on 31 March 2015

The United Nations Population Fund says women's needs are often overlooked after a natural disaster.

The UNFPA Pacific Gender Adviser Maha Muna was part of a team that went to Vanuatu to assess the plight of women after Cyclone Pam.

She says there are many issues that women face including gender-based violence which can be exacerbated in post-cyclone stress.

Leisale John's daughter and baby daughter

A Vanuatu mother and her child. Photo: NZ / Koroi Hawkins

Ms Muna says there are also health issues which she hopes were partly addressed by the handing out of over 400 dignity packs across Vanuatu.

"Really targeted at women of reproductive age which includes sanitary napkins for example which are often left out from distribution. Women continue to give birth during the cyclone, have small infant children who require care and they themselves were being already impacted by the food insecurity."

Ms Muna says reproductive health kits will be distributed shortly as she predicts over 900 obstetric emergencies in the next nine months in Vanuatu.

The UNFPA is also arranging midwives from Fiji to travel to Vanuatu to help pregnant women.

Russia dispatches humanitarian aid to Vanuatu

Russia has dispatched two plane-loads of humanitarian aid to Vanuatu to help in the continuing recovery effort after tropical cyclone Pam.

A statement on the Russian Emergencies Ministry website says the delivery includes over 60 tonnes of aid including sugar, dairy, meat and canned fish, as well as mobile power plants, tents, blankets and other basic necessities.

Aid arriving in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Aid arriving in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins