Naomi Kitahara, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Việt Nam, (left) hands over the kits to Thào Xuân Sùng, chairman of the Central Committee of Việt Nam Farmers’ Union (right). — Photo courtesy of the UNFPA
HÀ NỘI — Over 5,700 dignity kits on Monday were handed over to a representative for women at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) in Việt Nam’s floods-affected provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình and Quảng Nam.
Naomi Kitahara, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Việt Nam, handed over the kits to Thào Xuân Sùng, chairman of the Central Committee of Việt Nam Farmers’ Union. The union will deliver the dignity kits to the women in need.
The country’s central coastal region has suffered unprecedented flooding from prolonged downpours and successive typhoons since early October, resulting in more than 200 deaths so far, and displacing thousands of people. At least 5.5 million people in the region have been affected, including an estimated 1.3 million women of reproductive age with more than 92,000 of them pregnant.
Pregnancy and menstruation do not stop in emergencies, and as such uninterrupted services for sexual and reproductive health must be provided for women and girls. And risks of violence against women and girls increase in a crisis, for which effective prevention and response must be immediately put in place.
According to the joint rapid assessment carried out last month, in which UNFPA experts played a lead role in the most affected areas of central Việt Nam, the disaster had forced women and girls to move into evacuation centres without having the time to pack essential supplies. As a result, they were unable to manage their hygiene properly and lacked access to basic needs such as sanitary pads, clothes and underwear. In addition, access to water and places to wash and dry reusable pads and clothes, or to dispose used materials, was a problem.
Dignity kits are a signature product of the UNFPA's comprehensive package of humanitarian assistance to safeguard sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, mitigate the risk of gender-based violence, and respond and protect the dignity of women and girls adversely affected by a crisis.
“Preserving dignity is essential to maintaining self-esteem and confidence, which is important to cope in stressful and potentially overwhelming humanitarian situations. A dignity kit comprises the basic items that women and girls need to protect themselves and maintain their basic hygiene, respect and dignity in the face of crisis,” said Kitahara at the handover ceremony. — VNS