The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided critical medical and other assistance to tens of thousands of pregnant women, who are among the 340,000 people uprooted by the recent eruptions of Indonesia’s Mount Merapi.
UNFPA has provided medical supplies to four districts in the affected areas in Central Java, and is giving technical assistance in delivering reproductive health services.
Following the first eruption on 26 October, the Fund shipped 1,000 hygiene kits for specific target groups among the displaced, and sent midwifery supplies to local health centres offering basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care.
Additional hygiene kits and 3,000 sanitary kits were then sent after the second, larger eruption on 5 November.
The Fund is also helping to strengthen maternal surveillance in the four districts of Boyolali, Klaten, Magelang and Sleman to ensure skilled care during births and prompt management of pregnancy and childbirth complications.
It is also assisting in the prevention of HIV transmission, and is training personnel to address gender-related concerns as part of the disaster response.
“Vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence tends to increase during emergencies, so this is an area that UNFPA is also addressing,” said Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative in Indonesia.
In addition to assisting those displaced by the volcanic eruptions, the Fund has supported reproductive health services for people affected by last month’s earthquake and tsunami in the country’s Mentawai Islands.