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Shelter From the Storm: The State of World Population 2015

7 December 2015

UNFPA’s State of World Population 2015 sets new agenda for humanitarian response to step up support for millions left behind

 

Yogyakarta, 7 December 2015. The health needs of women and adolescents are too often neglected in humanitarian responses to natural disasters and conflicts around the world, says a new report released by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

 

The State of World Population 2015, “Shelter from the Storm”, highlights how crucial sexual and reproductive health services critical to the health and survival of women and adolescents are scarcest at the time they are needed most.

 

Of the 100 million people in need of humanitarian assistance around the world today, about 26 million are women and adolescent girls in their childbearing years, the annual report shows.

 

“For the pregnant woman who is about to deliver, or the adolescent girl who survived sexual violence, life-saving services are as vital as water, food and shelter,” explains UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “The health and rights of women and adolescents should not be treated like an afterthought in a humanitarian response.”

 

According to official data from Indonesia’s Natural Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), as of August 2015, there have already been 1,219 disasters across Indonesia. It is estimated that during emergencies, 25 percent of Indonesia’s affected population are women of reproductive age. At any given time, approximately 4 percent of the affected population will be pregnant and 15-20 percent of these women will develop pregnancy complications.

 

“Women and adolescents are more vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections without the usual protection of family and community,” says Martha Santoso Ismail, UNFPA Indonesia’s Assistant Representative, quoting the new report at the official launch in Yogyakarta on Monday.

 

Surya Chandra Surapaty, Head of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN), added that it was important that regardless of the environment women had the right to access the basic needs required for safe childbirth, family planning and reproductive health care.

 

With so many conflicts and disasters in the world today, UNFPA has increased its share of delivering services in crises. While UNFPA has already responded to crises in 38 countries this year, the report reveals that there is a shortfall in protecting all those who need it. In 2015, UNFPA received less than half the funding it required to meet the essential sexual and reproductive health needs of women and adolescents.

 

In 2014, the United Nations required a record $19.5 billion to respond to humanitarian situations around the world, but faced a record $7.5-billion gap, jeopardizing the health and lives of millions of people.

 

Because the demand for humanitarian assistance outpaces supply, a new approach is needed, with emphasis on prevention preparedness and building resilience of nations, communities, institutions and individuals, the report concludes.

 

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

 

 

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Samidjo, National Programme Officer for Advocacy, UNFPA Indonesia
+62 812 106 8328 or samidjo@unfpa.org

Ms. Sandra Siagian, Media and Communications Consultant, UNFPA Indonesia
+62 812 8512 5826 or ssiagian@unfpa.org