UN reproductive health agency seeks 683 mln USD for 2020

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-07 03:28:41|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday launched an appeal for 683 million U.S. dollars for 2020 to provide life-saving reproductive health and protection services to 48 million women, girls and young people in 57 countries.

The targeted population includes 4 million pregnant women affected by conflict, war or natural disasters, according to the appeal.

Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria are the countries that need aid most. The six countries combined represent more than half of the total requirements. Bangladesh, Somalia, Bolivia and South Sudan are the rest of the top 10 countries that need urgent help from the UNFPA.

The 683 million dollars is the biggest ever appeal by the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, said Arthur Erken, the UNFPA's chief communications officer.

About 50 percent of the funding for 2020 is expected to be met, and the agency will have to prioritize life-saving services, he told an event for the launch of the UNFPA appeal at the UN headquarters in New York.

Women and girls are facing unique challenges in a humanitarian crisis. Cases of maternal deaths, gender-based violence, and harmful practices, in particular, early marriage are on the rise dramatically in a humanitarian and fragile setting, said Shoko Arakaki, director of the UNFPA's Humanitarian Office.

She highlighted the need for assistance in the Sahel, a region plagued by terrorism in addition to the adverse effects of climate change.

Afrah Thabet, a reproductive health specialist at UNFPA in Yemen, and Luay Shabaneh, regional director for the UNFPA's Arab States Regional Office, briefed reporters on the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen and Syria, respectively -- both of which are in a prolonged civil war.

In 2019, the UNFPA provided humanitarian assistance to more than 19 million people in 64 countries. Around 7.3 million women received sexual and reproductive health services, including antenatal and postnatal care, emergency obstetric and newborn care, and clinical management of rape. Over 2.4 million people obtained family planning services, said Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UNFPA, in the appeal.